Illinois: Voters to be placed in nationwide database | The Southern

At a time when computer systems of major corporations have been under attack by hackers, Illinois is poised to join other states in a first-ever national database of voter registration information. But, despite concerns from scholars and others who monitor online security, state and national officials involved in the Electronic Registration Information Center program say every registered voter’s information will be safe. “We make a pretty good argument that we do more to protect the data than the states do themselves. We follow above normal security protocols,” said John Lindback the executive director of the Washington D.C.-based ERIC program. In one of his final acts as governor, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that put Illinois on track to join other states in the program. The law was just one piece of a larger overhaul of state election law that included changes to absentee voting and ballot counting.

Illinois: Special election law en route to suit? Maybe not | GateHouse News Service

Let the lawsuits begin – maybe. As everyone knows, the General Assembly passed a bill last week that will force a special election to fill the state comptroller’s office in 2016. Failed Republican legislative candidate Leslie Munger was appointed to fill the job last Monday, but rather than serve a full 4 years, she will now have to run for election in 2 years if she wants to keep the job. During debate on the bill, Republicans repeatedly said that passing it would lead to litigation. They argued that the only valid way to provide for an early election to fill the office is to change the state constitution. Of course, because of the time it takes to change the constitution, that method would mean Munger would serve a full 4 years anyway.

Illinois: Cook County Clerk Lauds Signing Of Voter Rights Bill | Journal & Topics

About a year ago, Cook County Clerk David Orr penned an op-ed calling for a “voter registration renaissance” in Illinois. Many of the components of Orr’s “All In” plan, most notably Election Day registration and increased government agency registration, will become reality when signed into law Saturday (Jan. 10) by Gov. Pat Quinn. “It’s fitting that Gov. Quinn, a longtime champion of democracy, will sign a voting rights bill as one of his final acts,” Orr said. “We fought hard for a comprehensive package that will address year-round voter registration issues, which ultimately will enhance the accuracy of the voter rolls, increase participation and improve efficiency.” Orr commends SB 172 sponsors Speaker Michael Madigan, Leader Barbara Flynn Currie and Sen. Don Harmon, as well as President John Cullerton, for moving swiftly to adopt changes to modernize the state’s voter registration system. Orr also applauds the many voting rights groups who advocated for the changes.

Illinois: Lawmakers quickly approve special comptroller election in 2016 | Chicago Tribune

Democrats gave speedy approval Thursday to a measure that would require a special election to fill part of the term left vacant after the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, as Republicans railed against the move as a power grab aimed at undermining Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner as he prepares to take office. The move foreshadowed what could be a combative relationship between Rauner and Democrats who run the legislature as Republicans assume control of the governor’s office for the first time in 12 years. The legislation, which was pushed through during a special session called by Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, would effectively limit Rauner’s comptroller pick to two years in office instead of four before facing voters. Departing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn indicated he would sign the bill before leaving office Monday.

Illinois: Democrats plan election vote despite Rauner’s opposition | Associated Press

The Democrat-controlled General Assembly plans to convene Thursday and vote on whether to hold a special election in two years for state comptroller, potentially handing Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner a loss even before he takes office next week. House Speaker Michael Madigan on Wednesday threw his support behind a proposal for a 2016 special election to fill the seat of late comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, an idea pitched by outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Rauner opposes it and intends to name a four-year replacement immediately after he is sworn in.

Illinois: Same-day voter registration on its way to becoming permanent in Illinois | UPI

The Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would make the voter registration process easier during a time when other states are coming under fire for tightening restrictions on voting. Illinois tried out a pilot program in the Nov. 4 election allowing voters to register on Election Day. Since then, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to make that program permanent and with a couple tweaks to the bill, the House gave its stamp of approval Wednesday. After the Senate OKs the amended legislation, it is expected Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn — who supported the pilot program — will sign the bill into law.

Voting Blogs: Illinois Poised to Enact Sweeping Election Bill Including Election Day registration: What’s Next? | Election Academy

The Illinois Legislature has just approved sweeping election legislation (SB 172) that would make changes to just about every aspect of the state’s election process, including making the state’s pilot Election Day registration (EDR) program permanent. The bill is off to outgoing Governor Pat Quinn (D) for his expected signature, meaning that the state is about to see a wide variety of changes in when, where and how citizens register and cast their ballots. So what’s next? Here are a few things to watch:

+ The votes on the legislation were partisan, with Republican legislators resisting the notion that sweeping changes were necessary so soon after the 2014 election but before Quinn is replaced by Republican Bruce Rauner, who defeated him for re-election in November.

Illinois: Same-day voter registration on way to becoming reality in Ill. | Chicago Sun Times

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.

Editorials: Why the GOP is so obsessed with voter fraud | Salon

It is rare for a politician to publicly deride efforts to boost voter turnout. It is seen as a taboo in a country that prides itself on its democratic ideals. Yet, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week slammed efforts to simplify voter registration. Referring to Illinois joining other states — including many Republican-led ones — in passing a same-day voter registration law, Christie said: “Same-day registration all of a sudden this year comes to Illinois. Shocking. It’s shocking. I’m sure it was all based on public policy, good public policy to get same-day registration here in Illinois just this year, when the governor is in the toilet and needs as much help as he can get.” Christie was campaigning for Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the same-day registration bill into law in July. Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, denounced the effort to boost voter turnout as an underhanded Democratic tactic, despite the Illinois State Board of Elections being composed equally of Democrats and Republicans. Referring to the same-day voter initiative, Christie said Quinn “will try every trick in the book,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Christie said the program is designed to be a major “obstacle” for the GOP’s gubernatorial candidates. The trouble with such rhetoric – beyond its anti-democratic themes — is its absurd assertions about partisan motives. After all, many of the 11 states with same-day registration laws currently have Republican governors.

Illinois: Same-day voter registration coming to Illinois | Chicago Tribune

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.

Illinois: When it comes to fall ballot questions, the more the merrier | Chicago Sun Times

Another vote, another advisory referendum. The Nov. 4 ballot seems to be getting bulkier and bulkier for every day the General Assembly remains in session this spring. On Thursday, the Senate ignored GOP charges of election-year “gimmickry” and approved two ballot questions, sending one to Gov. Pat Quinn for final approval and the other back to the Illinois House. By a 33-17 vote, the Senate approved legislation that would put a non-binding referendum on the fall ballot that would ask whether voters favor imposing an additional 3-percent tax on millionaires with money raised going toward public schools. “I’m not a biblical scholar, but I remember from my childhood and Sunday school: ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’” said Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, the millionaire-tax bill’s chief Senate sponsor.

Illinois: New law gives vote to some 17 year olds | The Edwardsville Intelligencer

A state law that went into effect Jan. 1 allows 17 year olds to vote in the March 18 primary if they turn 18 on or before the November general election. So far the only person to sign up has been a male student from Granite City High School whose birthday fell during the summer. “He was here on Jan. 2 at 8:30 a.m. He was ready!” County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza said Monday at her office at the Administration Building. “He was very excited about the idea of being able to vote in the primary and not having to wait until November. It was a big topic in the social studies and government classes. He said he was going to try to encourage his classmates.” Ming-Mendoza declined to name the student.

Illinois: Little changes expected in online voter registration | Quincy Herald-Whig

Voters in Illinois will have a new way to register to vote. Illinois will be able register online after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation into law last month. Adams County Clerk Georgia Volm believes that county clerks have been preparing for online registration in recent years by assembling voters databases to check rolls when someone registers. “We have the information we need available to us that when someone goes online to register, everything will come to us automatically,” she said. “And then we will be using the checks we’ve been building in this statewide database for a number of years.” Online voter registration will start July 1, 2014.

Illinois: Online voter registration to be in place next July |

In a step supporters hope will propel more young people to the polls, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Saturday to make Illinois the 18th state to allow online voter registration. The system, which must be in place by July of next year, is aimed at increasing the number of people taking the first step to voting while cutting the administrative costs of processing registrations on paper. Backers are confident the system will be secure and will not lead to an increase in voter fraud. “I can shop, watch movies, sign legal documents (and) even open my garage door online. There’s no good reason I should have to wait in line at a government office that’s only open during work hours to register to vote,” the bill’s Senate sponsor, Don Harmon, said in arguing for its passage. The Oak Park Democrat hopes the system will be popular with young people more inclined to use their laptops and smart phones to get things done.

Illinois: Quinn signs bill allowing online voter registration in Illinois | Chicago Tribune

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.

Illinois: Quinn at Stevenson High to sign law expanding voting rights to more teens | Daily Herald

Seventeen-year-olds who turn 18 before the November 2014 general election will be able to vote in the March primary, under an Illinois law enacted Wednesday. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law, dubbed “Suffrage at 17” by its champions, at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. Government teacher Andrew Conneen and many of his students have lobbied for the proposal for years. Conneen, students and others looked on as Quinn signed the law on the running track outside the school. Behind him, the scoreboard clock read 2:26, the official number of the House bill.

Illinois: Online voter registration in works | The State Journal-Register

Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation that will allow online voter registration, and officials of the agencies that would help implement the change in law say they are ready to make it work. “In today’s Internet age, allowing residents to register online will help more voters raise their voices at the ballot box and strengthen our democracy,” Quinn said in a statement after the General Assembly gave its final OK to the legislation, House Bill 2418, on May 30. The governor, who also used the statement to thank the bill’s chief sponsors, Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said the new system would “move our election process into the 21st century by making voter registration easier and more readily available for everyday people. This cost-effective measure will save taxpayer dollars and welcome new voters of all ages to our state’s Democratic process.”

Illinois: Senate Approves Online Voter Registration Bill | Progress Illinois

At a time when 500,000 eligible Illinoisans aren’t registered to vote, and voter turnout is at staggeringly low levels, the Illinois Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would make online voter registration an option in the state. The bill, HB 2418, would make it possible by July 1, 2014 for residents to register to vote through the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website. After entering drivers’ license information and the last four digits of a Social Security number, potential voters would be mailed a voter registration card. The card would need to be presented at a polling place during voting. “We’re taking a bold step into the electronic world,” State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), the bill’s primary sponsor in the Senate, said during the legislation’s debate. “This really is a key to getting young people involved in the process.”

Illinois: Senate OKs online voter registration | Bloomington Pantagraph

Illinoisans could someday register to vote via the internet under legislation endorsed Wednesday by the Illinois Senate. The measure, which is just one piece of a package of proposed state election law changes being considered by state lawmakers, is designed to make the voting process more appealing to a bloc of potential voters who rarely come out in force. “We’re taking a bold step into the electronic world,” said state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. “This really is a key to getting young people involved in the process.”

Illinois: Bill would allow 17-year-olds to vote during primaries | Quincy Herald-Whig

Legislation that would open primary elections to 17-year-olds in Illinois is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk after the Senate overwhelmingly approved it earlier this week. The teens will be able to vote in spring primaries if they will turn 18 by the general election in November. Nineteen other states have enacted similar laws. The Senate voted 43-9 Wednesday to send House Bill 226 to the governor. The House approved the proposal in April by a 95-22 vote.

Illinois: Lawmakers consider online voter registration; some fear fraud | Herald-Review

You can do your banking on your smartphone or buy a refrigerator on the Internet, but you can’t register to vote in Illinois without putting pen to paper. On Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn announced he wants to change all that by setting up a system that would allow Illinoisans to register to vote online. “In our Illinois, we embrace the voices, and the votes, of all people. Our democracy is strongest when more voters raise their voices at the ballot box,” the Chicago Democrat said during his annual State of the State speech. “We must move our election process into the 21st century.” Quinn aides say the move could boost turnout and eventually save taxpayer dollars by eliminating the need for personnel and paper to process applications.

Illinois: Lawmakers change Christmas Eve election quirk |

Local election officials likely won’t have to wait around on Christmas Eve for candidates to file for office or pay out thousands of dollars in overtime costs because of a proposal awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature. The Daily Herald reported this month that because of the local election calendar, the last day for candidates to file for offices like school board is set for Christmas Eve. But legislation approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday would push that final date back to Dec. 26. The House already approved it, and Quinn’s spokeswoman says he supports the plan. Local offices then would be free to close or observe holiday hours on Christmas Eve.

Illinois: Date Set for Special Election to Replace Jesse L. Jackson Jr. |

A special primary election to replace Jesse L. Jackson Jr. in Congress will be held in February, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois announced Monday, as numerous potential candidates were already floating their names in public, calling leaders in search of financial and political backing, and sizing up the competition. Debbie Halvorson, a former Democratic representative who ran against Mr. Jackson this year and lost, has announced that she will seek the seat once more. Anthony Beale, an alderman, announced the formation of a political committee for the Congressional seat on Monday.

Illinois: Orr To Ask Judge To Adjust Schedule For Special Election To Replace Jackson | CBS Chicago

Now that Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned his seat in Congress, Gov. Pat Quinn must set the date for an election to fill the seat. Cook County Clerk David Orr has a plan — and hopes the courts will go along. It would require a court order condensing the schedule so that the primary and general elections to replace Jackson would fit the existing suburban Cook County, Will and Kankakee County election schedules. All have primary elections Feb. 26 and general elections April 9. However, as it stands, there is a March 15 deadline to hold a special election. Orr said sticking to the existing deadline would mean staging extra elections — and incurring extra costs.

Illinois: New law could roll back some limits on campaign money | Illinois Issues

Less than two years after the state’s first caps on campaign contributions went into effect, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill today that would eliminate those limits if outside groups funnel cash into campaigns. Senate Bill 3722 would allow candidates in Illinois to ignore contribution limits when outside groups, called political action committees (PACs), spend money in a race. The bill is a response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows PACs to take in unlimited contributions as long as their efforts are not coordinated with candidates’ campaigns. Before the ruling, PACs could accept up to $10,000 from individual donors and $20,000 from unions and corporations. Under SB 3722, is such a PAC spends more than $100,000 campaigning for a single candidate in a municipal race or a bid for the state legislature, then candidates in that race would not have to stick to limits on how much money they can accept from donors. In a statewide race, the threshold would be $250,000 spent by an outside group. Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a sponsor of the bill, said the new law is intended to keep outside groups from deciding elections by opening potentially bottomless wallets. “I think what’s important about this bill is that no legislator is going to have to run in an election — in which somebody comes into the election with big bucks — with one hand tied behind her back,” she said.

Illinois: Quinn signs bills to increase protections for vets, servicemembers | Chicago Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday signed three bills to provide more protections for Illinois’ servicemembers and help injured veterans get the services they need.

These bills prevent Illinois utilities from cutting off heat to veterans and servicemembers during the winter months; extend the driver’s license renewal time for servicemembers returning from overseas or out-of-state; and create a fund to support public service announcements to increase awareness of veterans’ programs, a release from the governor’s office said.