County clerks preparing for Election Day voter sign-ups
JOLIET – Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips expects a busier-than-usual Election Day this year.
“We are already very busy on Election Day,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be a bit of a strain, but as always, when the Legislature gives us additional duties, we do our best to make sure things run smoothly.”
She is referring to new legislation signed recently by Gov. Pat Quinn. It allows for same-day voter registration at limited locations, and extended voting hours, on Election Day in November. The law also removes the photo identification requirement for in-person early voting.
Like grace period voting, Phillips said, ballots cast under the new format will be held for a period of time while staff can verify the voter isn’t registered elsewhere or voted somewhere else.
Phillips said she hopes voters strive to register well ahead of Election Day, with several options available. But if they do wait until the last minute, have some patience, she said.
“I hope voters understand and realize they may not get in and out of the polls as quickly as if they were a registered voter,” Phillips said. “I would ask them to exercise patience.”
Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said the logistics – and new costs – worry her.
“We’re right in the middle of our budget process right now, and there’s no funding,” she said, noting new equipment alone could cost the county about $35,000.
The new law only applies to the upcoming November election, but could be extended depending on how this year goes. Despite Schultz Voots’ concerns, the new law could increase vote turnout – which is a good thing, she said.