A pilot program that allowed same-day voter registration in Illinois in the Nov. 4 election would become permanent under legislation that passed the House Wednesday. Besides allowing people to register and vote on the same day at polling places, the bill would allow extended early voting, as well as make it easier for students to vote at college campuses. The legislation passed the Democrat-controlled House on partisan lines by a 70-44 vote. It’s been amended from the original version that passed the Senate — also controlled by Democrats — so a concurrence vote would need to happen in that chamber before it can be sent to Gov. Pat Quinn. Quinn supported the pilot program, so it’s expected he’d sign the bill into law.
On Nov. 4, Chicago’s five same-day registration centers were so swamped, people were casting ballots even after most of the races had been called. Republicans have seized on that as a sign that same-day registration isn’t ready to be implemented statewide.
Overall, about 2,300 citizens took advantage of same-day registration in Chicago, and 3,604 did so in suburban Cook County.