Election Day Voter Registration Reinstated in Illinois
By Kim Geiger
Same-day voter registration will be available in Illinois for the Nov. 8 election after a federal appeals court Friday denied an attempt to expedite a case challenging the law.
Earlier this week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a lower court ruling from September that found the same-day registration option benefited Democratic strongholds such as Chicago while diluting the vote in rural regions that may favor Republican candidates. The lower court ruling had blocked implementation of the same-day registration option for the upcoming election.
The appeals court Tuesday stayed the lower court order after Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office appealed, clearing the way for election officials to implement the same-day registration law again. The lawyers who were challenging the law then asked the appeals court to expedite its review of the case, but the appeals court Friday declined to do so, instead setting a Nov. 10 deadline for the first round of briefs.
That means same-day voter registration will be in effect on Election Day.
Under the law, counties with populations of 100,000 or more must provide voters with the same-day registration option at polling places on Election Day. Smaller counties must also do so, if they keep voter records electronically. Smaller counties that don't keep electronic poll books must offer same-day registration at their main election office or at polling places in the county's larger municipalities.
The law was challenged by a Republican candidate for Congress in northwestern Illinois who was represented by the legal arm of the GOP-aligned Illinois Policy Institute. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been a donor to the institute.
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