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Illinois To Offer Online Voter Registration

By next summer, Illinois voters will be able to register to vote online.

To help boost voter participation, Gov. Pat Quinn has followed more than a dozen other states by signing an online voter registration law.

“Online voter registration will encourage more people to fulfill their civic duty by making that first step of registering to vote easier and more accessible," Quinn said in a statement. "This new law will boost registration rates, cut costs and move Illinois’ democratic process into the 21st century."

The registration system will be available on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website, but Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said he hopes that changes.

“For most folks in Champaign County, if they Google ‘Champaign County elections’ or ‘Where do I vote,’ the Champaign County Clerk website is going to be the thing that they go to,” Hulten said. “I think our website is incredibly more user friendly than the State Board of Elections website. So, I have some concerns about the limited environment in which this is being rolled out and the implementation of it.”

Hulten said in Champaign County, he is not sure if online voter registration will lead to a huge increase in voter participation since his office is already aggressive with helping people sign up.

Meanwhile, Piatt County Clerk Colleen Kidd has concerns about the new system.

“I don’t think that it’s going to make any difference on whether more people are going to vote or not,” Kidd said. “I think that there could be the potential for fraud.”

Those who support the plan say it is secure and they are confident it will not lead to a greater risk of voter fraud.

Earlier this month, Gov. Quinn signed a bill allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the time of the next general election.