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A Limo Ride And Steak Dinner Would Be Cheaper Than Current Registration Program, Lawmaker Says

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Illinois lawmakers are increasingly trying to make it easier for residents to be involved in politics -- there'll be a hearing Tuesday in Chicago on automatic voter registration. A separate proposal that goes in the opposite direction. But its sponsor says it's for good reason.

Illinois' next election isn't until March, but you can go ahead right now and register to vote in it. More the procrastinating type? A new state law says you can now also register right up until, and on, the day of the election, at any precinct.

Republican Rep. Mark Batinick of Plainfield says that's expensive; judging by how many took advantage of a trail run last year, he says "it would be cheaper for us to send a limousine to the people who are too lazy to register to vote, bring them down to the clerk's office, have 'em vote, take 'em out for a steak dinner."

Batinick doesn't want to do away with same-day voter registration; rather, he proposes scaling it back, so there'd be set places for voters to register on election day. His proposal says that in places like the suburban collar counties only one, centralized same-day voter registration location would be required for every hundred thousand residents.

"When you have it at every precinct, you don't know where these people are going to show up. It's gonna slow the line for people who have done the right thing and registered to vote in advance," he says. "I don't know why the line should be slowed down for somebody who took the time to do the right thing and registered to vote early."

His idea hasn't advanced at all in the Democratic-controlled Illinois House.

Advocates of expanded voter registration efforts have worked to make should be as easy as possible.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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