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Our View: Online voter registration the right move

Published: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Voter turnout in DeKalb County, across Illinois and the rest of the U.S. has been nothing short of pathetic for years. Partisan bickering, government incompetence and voter apathy have contributed to the lackluster turnout. The first step to getting more eligible citizens to the polls is to make sure more of them are registered to vote.

Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed legislation that will make it easier for Illinois residents to register to vote because they will be able to do so online. With the new law, Illinois becomes the 18th state to allow for online voter registration.

We support this new legislation. But there must be enough safeguards in place to ensure that ineligible residents – noncitizens, felons, etc. – are not able to beat the system and register. Supporters of the measure insist that those safeguards will be in place.

The law gives election authorities until July 1 of next year to have the system up and running, meaning eligible residents will be able to use it in time to vote in the next general election in November 2014, according to The Associated Press.

Those looking to register online will have to use a driver’s license and the last four digits of their Social Security number to do so. In addition to making it easier for eligible residents to vote, this new system should save the state money. Processing a paper registration costs more than 25 times that of a digital one.

If online registration proves to work and fraud is not a problem, then perhaps the next step is online voting. We have a ways to go before we get there, but this is a good step.

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