Illinois Will Have Same-Day Voter Registration This Election

October 07, 2016
In this Feb. 27, 2012, file photo, an election worker left, hands a voting receipt to a voter at a polling station in Chicago.

In this Feb. 27, 2012, file photo, an election worker left, hands a voting receipt to a voter at a polling station in Chicago.

M. Spencer Green, File/Associated Press

Illinois voters will be able to register and cast their ballot at the same time - on election day, November 8th. The U.S. Court of Appeals handed down a ruling Friday that puts an end to a series of back-and-forth court orders issued in recent weeks. The court said it would not expedite the case. The law requires heavily-populated jurisdictions to offer election-day registration for voters in all precincts.

Illinois first permitted voters to register on election day two years ago. But it only had to be available at one location in a jurisdiction. In places it was so popular, there were huge lines.

A law set to take effect for this general election sought to curb that problem. So, there will be more places for procrastinating voters to go if they're in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, Bloomington and East St. Louis than voters who reside in rural areas.

The conservative Liberty Justice Center claimed that was unfair to rural residents, and sued.

Something to keep in mind: The law was passed by Democrats, who control the General Assembly, and rural areas trend Republican; populated ones trend Democratic.

The lawsuit met some success in court.  For a while, it looked like Illinois would not allow election-day registration at all.

But a recent ruling reversed that. And now the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says that's how it will stay.

At least, through election day.

The case can continue. Its outcome, though, wouldn't have any effect until the next election.

A reminder from the Attorney General: Wherever you do it, election-day registrants must bring two forms of ID. You don't have to wait until then. Illinois offers grace-period registration until the day before the election. Also, early voting has already started.  President Barack Obama cast his early vote Friday afternoon in Chicago.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio