Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lawsuit Arises Over Same-Day Voter Registration

A federal lawsuit has raised questions about whether Illinois's new Election Day voter registration rules are constitutional, a situation that could complicate how polling sites are run this November.

Illinois tested same-day registration in the 2014's governor's race, with all election authorities required to offer it in at least one location. It was popular, with long lines on Election Night, particularly in Chicago. When lawmakers made same-day registration permanent the next year, they expanded it, ordering highly populated areas to make it available at all polls.

That change is at the heart of a federal lawsuit brought by Republicans, who argue it's an unfair and unequal system because voters in less populated and GOP-leaning areas don't have equal access. They're asking a judge to end all precinct-level Election Day registration, which could impact voters in 21 of 102 counties and five cities: Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, Bloomington and East St. Louis.

Democrats dismissed the allegations on turnout and voters' rights groups have fought back. Five of them, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, filed a brief in court Wednesday, suggesting such a change in a presidential-election year would create chaos and "leave thousands of people unable to vote."

Information provided by the Associated Press

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