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Online voter registration the new reality in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Starting today, Illinois citizens can register to vote online.

All they need to do is visit, and follow the website’s instructions. They’ll also need their Illinois driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their current addresses.

State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, who passed the law enabling online registration, said it passed the General Assembly last year. “But it gave the State Board of Elections until July 1 to implement the program. The November general election will be the first election where online registration is a reality.”

This year, Harmon near the end of the General Assembly’s spring session, passed legislation that provides several new avenues to encourage people to participate in the democratic process.

The measure includes:

• Expanding permanent early voting sites to all counties with more than 100,000 residents

• Requiring local election authorities to place voting centers on all public university campuses

• Expanding vote-by-mail from 40 days before the election to 90 days before the election

It also creates a Voter Pilot Program, which does the following:

• Extends early voting to the Sunday before the election

• Requires permanent early voting sites to stay open until 7 p.m. the week before the election

• Extends Sunday voting hours

• Extends grace period voting to Election Day

• Suspends the requirement that voters must show ID to vote early

If the pilot program is successful, the state may make these changes permanent.

This year’s legislation is currently under consideration by the governor.

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