Sweeping Illinois election law changes likely to be in place this fall mean it’ll be easier to register, vote while away at college and cast an early ballot. Democrats say the relaxed rules will allow more people to exercise a basic democratic right, but Republicans are leery the moves are aimed at pumping up the Democratic vote in what has been a decidedly blue state. The changes are part of a measure lawmakers approved this spring that Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign into law this summer. The biggest one will allow same-day registration for the first time, meaning Illinois voters could register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day.
The legislation also would expand the number of days and extend the hours for early voting. And it would remove the provision that people taking part in early voting show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license.
In addition, students attending Illinois public universities could shift their residences from their hometowns to their school-based living quarters and vote on Election Day at select on-campus locations.
The changes, however, would only apply to the Nov. 4 election. That has some Republicans questioning whether easing the voting rules simply is a way to bolster Democratic prospects this fall.