Federal judge nixes Illinois’ same-day voter registration

CHICAGO — A federal judge ruled today that Illinois voters in urban counties got an unfair advantage by having the ability to register to vote on election day, demanding all electronic registration be removed from the state.

A U.S. district judge ruled Tuesday that a bill signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn allowing counties with more than 100,000 people to register on election day “diluted the vote of the rural citizen.” The judge said in his ruling that the Election Day Registration System (EDR) must be removed from the 20 larger counties before the November election. Liberty Justice Center Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert represented the plaintiff in the case. He says that if Illinoisans want EDR, it should be implemented statewide.

“If Illinois wants to provide Election Day voter registration at the polls, it can do so in a way that’s fair and equal,” Huebert said. “Six other states, including Illinois’ neighbors Wisconsin and Iowa, give all of their citizens the right to register and vote at their local polling places; they don’t favor voters in some counties over voters in other counties. We’re pleased with the court’s ruling.”

Huebert added that Democrats passed this bill along party lines and sent it to a lame-duck Democratic governor.

“They set up a scheme designed to boost Democratic voter turnout more than it would boost Republican voter turnout,” Huebert said. “This is just another example of how Illinois politicians rig the system to keep themselves in power.”

Plaintiffs in the case included Patrick Harlan, a Republican candidate for the 17th Congressional seat, and the Crawford County Republican Central Committee.

A spokesman for the State Board of Elections said they would honor the court’s wishes.The Liberty Justice Center is a partner to INN’s parent organization, Illinois Policy Institute.