A voting rights victory

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25)
State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25)

I am thrilled that the General Assembly approved my measure to provide an election day fail-safe for Illinois voters. When Gov. Pat Quinn signs Senate Bill 172, our citizens will be able to register and vote in their home precincts on every election day starting in 2015.

Last spring we approved Election Day registration but only for the Nov. 4, 2014 election. The experiment was a success. People did sign up and they did vote. Unfortunately, there were very long lines at the few locations where same-day opportunities were available. Those lines won’t be a problem going forward, as voters will be able to register and vote in their own precincts.

I’m proud that Illinois will join the 12 other states that offer Election Day registration. Those states include our neighbors Iowa and Wisconsin, states that generally have higher voter participation rates than we do.

The election bill also expands early voting opportunities. And it will sign us up to participate in the Electronic Registration Information Center and the National Change of Address database. With these tools, election authorities can keep better track of voter eligibility and make sure voters who move have an easy way to register to vote at their new address.

Voting rights are fundamental to our system of democratic governance. Expanding access to the ballot is critical to ensuring that each of us can exercise our right to vote.