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SPRINGFIELD — Illinoisans could someday register to vote via a computer under legislation endorsed by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.

The measure, which is just one piece of a package of proposed state election law changes being considered by state lawmakers, is designed to make the voting process more appealing to a bloc of potential voters who rarely come out in force.

“We’re taking a bold step into the electronic world,” said state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. “This really is a key to getting young people involved in the process.”

Under the plan, the state would set up a system in which applicants could register through the state Board of Elections website, using a driver’s license and the last four digits of their social security number. The state would then transmit the registration to the person’s home county.

In a statement, Gov. Pat Quinn praised the passage of the proposal, which he outlined earlier this year.

“As I proposed in my State of the State address, this cost-effective measure will move our election process into the 21st century and make registering to vote easier for everyday people,” Quinn said. “Our democracy will be stronger if more voters raise their voices at the ballot box.”

Cook County Clerk David Orr said online registration could be cheaper than the current paper process. In a statement, Orr said other states have seen a drop in the cost of processing a registration from 83 cents to 3 cents.

The system would go online by July 1, 2014.

If approved, Illinois would become the 19th state that is either offering online registration or is in the process of implementing it.

The proposal was approved on a 32-20 vote and now heads to the House for further debate.

The legislation is House Bill 2418.



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