State election board questions automatic voter registration

May 23, 2016

A plan allowing automatic voter registration in Illinois is advancing through the Legislature despite concerns from the leading state election authority that would have to implement it. 

Backers want Illinois to join Oregon, California and West Virginia in modernizing voter registration. They say it cleans up voter rolls and boosts civic participation. 

However, the Illinois State Board of Elections says it's opposed because officials don't currently have a program to put it into place and it could cost millions of dollars. The proposal calls for an initial Sept. 1 deadline to update files. The whole plan would have to be in place by 2018. 

The Senate approved it last week and it's headed to the House. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's open to plans simplifying voter registration.