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Illinois governor signs bill allowing online voter registration

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] signed a bill [HB 2148 text, PDF] on Saturday making Illinois the eighteenth state to allow online voter registration. The bill, which is set to take effect in July of next year, will allow anyone with a valid driver's license or state identification card to register to vote online. It is an attempt to reduce processing times, save money and appeal to younger voters who are more tech savvy and used to doing everything online. The bill also includes security measures to prevent fraudulent registration [Chicago Tribune report], including requiring each online registrant to enter the date his or her identification card was issued as well as the last four digits of his or her social security number. Supporters of the bill hope that the ease of registering will increase the number of voters and plan to have the system up and running before the March primary election.

Voter registration and prevention of voter fraud has been a controversial issue in recent years. Last month, the US Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] an Arizona law that required proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. In August of last year the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] struck down [JURIST report] a portion of a voter registration law that shortened the time allowed for voter registration groups to turn in registration forms to the state. Earlier that month the Texas attorney general also appealed [JURIST report] a ruling from a district court that struck down its law that would have only allowed deputy registrars to register voters in their own counties. Michigan's governor vetoed a law [JURIST report] in July of last year that would have required voters to confirm their citizenship before voting and would have required voter registration groups to undergo specified training.

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