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VRM in the States: Illinois

Illinois became the ninth state to approve automatic voter registration in August 2017, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill that the legislature passed unanimously.

Published: March 16, 2018

On August 28, 2017, Illinois became the ninth state to author­ize auto­matic voter regis­tra­tion, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill that the legis­lature passed unan­im­ously. This effort follows Gov. Rauner’s veto of a separ­ate auto­matic regis­tra­tion bill one year earlier.

The new plan could help sign up more than 1 million eligible but unre­gistered Illinois­ans by auto­mat­ic­ally regis­ter­ing citizens when they inter­act with the DMV and other state agen­cies, unless they decline. The legis­la­tion is notable for having the poten­tial to bring the reform to a broad range of state agen­cies, as opposed to other efforts around the coun­try that focus largely on driver’s license-issu­ing offices. The state is sched­uled to imple­ment the system by July 2018. Learn more about auto­matic regis­tra­tion here.

Prior Advances in Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion

This reform builds upon Illinois’ exist­ing voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion efforts:

  • Elec­tronic Voter Regis­tra­tion: Illinois launched elec­tronic voter regis­tra­tion at DMV offices in 2016. Inform­a­tion is elec­tron­ic­ally trans­ferred from DMV offices to elec­tion offi­cials.
  • Online Voter Regis­tra­tion: Illinois launched online voter regis­tra­tion through the State Board of Elec­tions in 2014. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion.
  • Elec­tion Day Regis­tra­tion: Illinois imple­men­ted Elec­tion Day regis­tra­tion in 2014. Indi­vidu­als may register on Elec­tion Day and during the early voting period at certain desig­nated loca­tions. 

Gains from Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion in Illinois

  • In the Novem­ber 2016 general elec­tion, 137,757 voters registered on Elec­tion Day or during the early voting period.