Here’s something North Carolina voters can put on their wish lists for 2015: voting reforms like those enacted by the Illinois legislature earlier this week that make registration simpler and more reliable, cut election costs in the long run, reduce voter fraud and, most importantly, expand the right and ability to vote.
In just about every way, the Illinois bill is the polar opposite of North Carolina’s House Bill 589, enacted in August 2013 and widely criticized as one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country.
Here are the highlights, as summarized by the Brennan Center’s DeNora Getachew:
The Illinois bill has three major pieces:
- It will implement electronic registration, which means more voters will have the opportunity to sign up when they interact with a government agency.
- It will create a permanent same-day registration (SDR) system. SDR will increase convenience by allowing citizens to register and vote on the same day, either before or on Election Day.
- It will increase early voting options by extending them to include the three days — most notably, the Saturday and Sunday — before Election Day.
Illinois had already adopted online voter registration in 2013, joining 17 other states doing the same — recognizing that it would increase voter participation, particularly among young people, and would reduce registration costs.
“This law will increase participation in our democracy,” State Senator Don Harmon said at the time. “But it will do more than that. It will also save the state money. Processing a paper registration costs 83 cents. Processing an online application costs 3 cents.”
With the new law, Illinois also joins “ERIC” — the Electronic Registration Information Center — which helps states share voter information, making voting rolls more accurate and adapting to the mobility of voters. Eleven other states and Washington, D.C., had already joined the center.
To see more about how ERIC works, watch below.