Voter Registration Down in Illinois
By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
The number of people registered to vote in President Barack Obama's home state has decreased since his historic election win four years ago. The drop off could mean bad news for the president’s re-election bid.
Back in 2008, the excitement to get out and vote was high, in large part because of enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s candidacy. This year, though, Illinois election officials say voter registration in the state is down by just under five percent compared to 2008.
University of Illinois Political Science Professor Brian Gaines cites the drop off rate to less excitement about Obama this time around.
But Gaines said the president shouldn’t worry about winning Illinois, but rather battleground states.
“If you look at Iowa, the active Republican registration exceeds the active Democratic registration this time around, and that hasn’t been true for a long time," Gaines said. "So, some of the same trends are visible in battleground states, and that’s where it really might be critical.”
Gaines also said voter registration may be lower because of legislative redistricting.
Meanwhile, Roosevelt University Political Science Professor Paul Green said he doesn't see a connection between low voter registration and the president’s popularity.
Early voting begins Monday.