JOLIET – Brent Hassert, lobbyist for the Will County Board, said the county should act fast to persuade lawmakers to lessen the blow associated with new legislation requiring same-day voter registration.
“Time is of the essence. We can't drag our feet. [Let's bring lawmakers] up to speed on our concerns," Hassert told members of the County Board's Legislative and Policy Committee on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 172, signed into law Monday by now-former Gov. Pat Quinn, requires Illinois counties with a population of at least 100,000 to offer same-day voter registration at every polling place by the March 2016 election.
Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots last week said the mandate would mean nearly $1 million in start-up costs to buy electronic poll books – or computer tablets with voting capabilities – and for training election judges about the new systems.
Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis suggested the county reach out to nearby counties faced with the same issue.
County officials also plan to reach out to lawmakers to see if the state can delay implementation, identify a funding source and keep same-day registration ballots provisional to deter voter fraud.