Illinois will get expanded early voting, same-day registration, and easier college campus voting this election year as part of a test run of new voting access expansions. If this pilot project goes well, Illinois could become the 12th state to offer same-day voter registration.
Early voting locations will be available for more days and more hours than before. In addition to having more time to vote, voters will no longer need to bring ID to the polls in order to vote early. And college students at Illinois’ public universities will now be allowed to register at their campus addresses. Those that haven’t will likewise have the chance to cast absentee ballots on campus on election day. Both measures will open the door for increased voting among students. This expanded access to voting follows on Illinois recently-implemented online voter registration system.
Some lawmakers in the state are calling the move politically-motivated. The law was enacted by Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and these measures have been shown in the past to increase turnout among Democratic voters. If the pilot project is successful, however, Republican lawmakers will have ample opportunity to target and influence those voters most affected by increased poll access.