Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a measure into law Saturday that will make Illinois the 18th state to allow voters to register online. Supporters say the move could increase turnout at the polls and cut down on paperwork costs, while critics question the security of an online registration system and say there is a potential for fraud in a state where Chicagoans have been known to vote from beyond the grave. Under the legislation, anyone with a valid driver’s license or state identification card can go online to sign up to vote online beginning July 1, 2014. That’s the target date for the State Board of Elections to have the new system up and running.
The measure is backed by Cook County Clerk David Orr, who said the online option will be a “win-win” for voters and election officials that makes it easier to register and reduces processing time and the potential for errors since voters will be in charge of entering their own personal information. Orr also contends there are enough checks and balances to prevent wrongdoing.
In addition to a state-issued ID, those wishing to register online will be required to enter the date the ID was issued as well as the last four digits of their social security number. The information will be cross referenced with existing voter registration databases and one run by the Secretary of State’s office that also catalogs the signatures of those who have received state IDs.