Local Election

Legal interpretation expands same-day voting registration opportunities

Legal interpretation of a federal ruling curtailing expanded same-day registration will allow the practice at early voting stations.

The state’s county clerks, after a conference call last week, agreed that early voting stations still would be allowed to register people to vote, McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan said.

Legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections concurred with the interpretation, she said.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan slapped a preliminary injunction on a state law that requires counties with more than 100,000 residents to implement a system by which voters can register at the same time they cast ballots at any polling place through Election Day.

Under the law, which was implemented after a successful pilot program in 2014, counties with fewer than 100,000 residents can opt out if they lack the necessary electronic poll book system that gives all precincts instantaneous access to voter records.

But a Republican congressional candidate and a county Republican central committee filed suit earlier this summer, alleging that the law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by creating a system in which larger counties – which lean or outright vote Democratic – would have a greater opportunity to vote.

Early voting started Thursday at McClellan’s office in Woodstock, and will open at 10 locations Oct. 24 through the day before the Nov. 8 election.

People who are not registered to vote can do so at these places, providing they also vote at the same time.

The only location to have same-day registration the day of the Nov. 8 election will be McClellan’s office.

Aside from those early voting options, the last day to register to vote is Oct. 11.

People who already are registered only have to re-register if they have moved or changed their name since the last election.

You can register if you are a U.S. citizen and will be at least 18 years old by Election Day. You can register in person at McClellan’s office or at any local library, or register online at ova.elections.il.gov.

In-person registration requires two forms of identification, one of which must include your current address.

For information, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website at www.elections.il.gov, or call McClellan’s office at 815-334-4242.

McClellan said the line to vote at her office has been “out the door” since Thursday, averaging about 100 voters a day.

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