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Illinois House approves same-day voter registration

Illinois tried out a pilot program in the Nov. 4 election allowing voters to register on Election Day.
By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   Dec. 3, 2014 at 5:44 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 3 (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.

The process, which would streamline voter registration, is currently used in some form in about a dozen states and Utah also implemented a pilot program this year, the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that supports legislators nationwide, said.

On the flip side, Ohio and North Carolina recently ditched their same-day voter registration laws, prompting lawsuits by the Justice Department.

The new voting restrictions in Ohio and North Carolina, coupled with new voter ID laws in dozens of states -- the NCSL said the number of states with some form of voter ID legislation has jumped between 2000 and 2014 from 14 states to 34 -- have some critics complaining all voters don't have equal, unfettered access to polls.

Illinois state Rep. Bill Mitchell, a Republican, who opposed the same-day registration legislation, called it the "Voter Fraud Act of 2014."

"Not one person on the minority side of the aisle has given us one thing about the bill they would change," Democratic Rep. Lou Lang, who supported the bill, said. "If you're afraid of people voting, just stand up and say so."

Topics: Pat Quinn
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