SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Same-day voter registration will be allowed in Illinois in the general election because an appeals court ruled Friday that a challenge to the law won’t be resolved until after Nov. 8.
The decision from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not to expedite the case means the legal wrangling between a conservative group and the state won’t impact this election, but the question of whether the law is constitutional remains unresolved.
This week, the appeals court issued a ruling temporarily canceling a federal judge’s decision that the Election Day voter registration law, as drafted by lawmakers, is discriminatory to voters in rural, GOP-leaning areas. If that ruling stood, it would’ve prevented same-day voter registration on Nov. 8.
Under the law, counties with more than 100,000 residents must allow Election Day registration. Smaller counties that keep electronic records must do the same, but voters in places without electronic records must travel to the county’s main election office or a larger municipality.
The conservative Illinois Policy Institute sued to overturn the law, which began as a pilot project in 2014 and was expanded in 2015.
Jacob Huebert, a Liberty Justice Center attorney representing the group, said the law is a “tremendous advantage” to candidates who draw their support from high-population areas, like Chicago. He called the law “unfair and unequal.”
“We’ve done all we can do for now, but we’re hopeful that when the court has an opportunity to hear the case after the election that it will uphold the district court’s decision,” he said.
Both sides will begin filing their legal briefs with the appeals court beginning Nov. 10.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who represents the state when it is sued, said in a statement that same-day “registration allows all voters the opportunity to participate in our elections.”
Madigan’s father is Michael Madigan, the Illinois House speaker and chairman of the state’s Democratic Party.
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