A new state law making permanent same-day voter registration – first piloted in the November election – is sure to be a $1-million headache for the county, Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots told members of the county board’s Finance Committee on Tuesday. That’s about how much it’s going to cost to comply with Senate Bill 172, passed last month, that requires Illinois counties with a population of at least 100,000 to offer same-day voter registration at every polling place beginning with the March 2016 election. In the county’s case, that’s 303 polling places – a substantial increase from the five locations that offered same-day registration in the Nov. 4 election.
Schultz Voots said the county will have to find money to equip each location with electronic poll books – or computer tablets with voting capabilities – as part of the state’s contracting with the Electronic Registration Information Center, a multi-state data-sharing system that streamlines voter data records. Those devices alone will cost about $528,000, according to estimates.
Only 628 people registered and voted on Election Day in Will County, according to the county clerk’s office, leading some county board members, including County Board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, to believe the $1 million in start-up costs might not be worth it. That’s equates to about $1,600 a vote.