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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.