Election Day Registration Passes Illinois House

Legislation to make Election Day Registration permanent - backed by Illinois PIRG and our coalition, Just Vote - passed through the Illinois House today. The Senate has until tomorrow to pass the bill before the fall session ends.

Our Democracy works best when everybody participates. Unfortunately in Illinois, not everybody does. We have the second lowest voter participation rate in the Midwest and this year less than 1 in 5 registered voters voted in the primary elections. 

That’s why Illinois PIRG has been working with Just Vote Illinois to pass Election Day Registration in Illinois. The positive impact of Election Day Registration on voter participation is impressive and consistent: states with Election Day Registration historically have voter turnout rates 10 to 12 percentages higher than states without it. 

This fall’s pilot program demonstrated strong demand for Election Day Registration in Illinois. Thousands of eligible voters who otherwise would not have been able to vote were able to register or update their registration and cast a ballot.

The Illinois Legislature is meeting for just a few days this fall, and one of the bills they are considering is one to make Election Day Registration permanent – Senate Bill 172. The House just passed the bill this afternoon and the Senate will be considering it tomorrow. 

Here’s a picture of me meeting yesterday with Senate Sponsor Don Harmon, and coalition partner Marissa Liebling of Just Vote Illinois.


Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG

Abe Scarr is the director of Illinois PIRG. He is a lead advocate in the Capitol and in the media for stronger consumer protections, utility accountability, and good government. In 2017, Abe led a coalition to pass legislation to implement automatic voter registration in Illinois, winning unanimous support in the Illinois General Assembly for the bill. In 2019, he co-authored "Tragedy of Errors," a report documenting decades of mismanagement in the Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, and has built a large coalition to end wasteful gas utility spending. Before moving to Illinois in 2014, Abe worked as the state director for ConnPIRG, where he helped pass a landmark solid waste and recycling law. He also serves as a board member for the Consumer Federation of America. Abe lives in Chicago, where he enjoys biking, cooking and tending his garden.