Gov. Pat Quinn has approved same-day voter registration in Illinois, stoking criticism from Republicans who dismiss the move as a political tactic to entice Democratic voters to the polls in November.
The incumbent Democrat, running for re-election this year against GOP challenger Bruce Rauner, signed the same-day bill into law on Tuesday. It holds only for the Nov. 4 elections but backers want to continue the plan past that date, if a trial run is successful.
The measure allows Illinoisans to register to vote and submit a ballot on the same day. It also provides extra time to cast early ballots and removes a requirement to bring photo ID in order to vote ahead of time. What's more, it makes it easier for students attending Illinois state universities to vote on campus: College kids are now allowed to transfer their place of residence from, say, their parents' homes to their new school addresses.
Quinn and his co-Democrats say the law helps democratize the voting process while state Republicans criticize the law as a cynical ploy to increase Democratic turnout. Rauner, meanwhile, said he supports the plan to engage extra voters.
"We are open to embracing new technology and new experiences by the voter, particularly because we don't get that much voter participation," Patty Scuh, representative for Illinois' Republican senators, told the Chicago Tribune. "But you have to be suspicious when, if it's good public policy, why only impact it for one year."
Time to cast your ballots, Ward Room-readers: Do you agree with the GOP? Can the law simultaneously benefit Democrats politically and on a good-for-the-people policy level?