SPRINGFIELD | Illinois is poised to join 18 other states offering an online voter registration system.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign legislation in Chicago on Saturday morning allowing voters to register via the Internet beginning July 1, 2014.
The measure, which is one piece of a package of proposed state election law changes approved by state lawmakers in their spring session is designed to make the voting process more appealing to a bloc of potential voters who rarely come out in force.
Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt, who represents a county with thousands of college students attending Southern Illinois University, is among those excited about the change.
“This could alleviate a lot of the errors we see in the paper registration process,” Reinhardt said. “I believe a lot of the younger voters will take advantage of it.”
Under the plan, the state would set up a system in which applicants could register through the state Board of Elections website, using a driver’s license and the last four digits of a Social Security number. The state would then transmit the registration to the person’s home county.
Quinn proposed such a plan in his State of the State address earlier this year.
Cook County Clerk David Orr earlier said online registration could be cheaper than the current paper process. Other states have seen a drop in the cost of processing a registration from 83 cents to 3 cents, he said.
Reinhardt said it could reduce the amount of work his employees have to do when they track down potential voters who made mistakes on their registration forms.
“These registrations are a huge workload,” Reinhardt said. “This could reduce labor costs.”
Not everyone is convinced it will be a positive move. Republicans in the House and Senate voted against the measure.
“This is Illinois. I’m very concerned about voter fraud,” said state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth.
The legislation is House Bill 2418.