Appeals court upholds same-day Election Day voter registration in Illinois

A federal judge has scaled back Election Day voter registration in Illinois, a decision that sides with Republicans who claimed in a lawsuit that it is unconstitutional. (WLS)

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has put a stay on a district court decision that said same-day voter registration on Election Day at polling places in Illinois was unconstitutional, at least temporarily allowing for same-day Election Day voter registration in the state.

The decision from Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan on Sept. 27 temporarily blocked wider same-day registration put into effect by lawmakers in 2015.

Illinois Republicans filed suit in August arguing that voters in less-populated areas did not have the same access to Election Day registration in their precincts as in larger counties. State Democrats countered that it was a thinly-veiled partisan effort that boils down to discrimination against the minority and woman voters that typically register on Election Day in lager precincts.

More than 100,000 people registered to vote on Election Day in precincts statewide in March for the primary, and 35,000 of those were in Chicago, said Jim Allen, of the Chicago Board of Elections.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office argued yanking the option so close to the Nov. 8 election would unfairly deny some citizens voting rights. The Court of Appeals ruled in their favor and scheduled a hearing for Thursday at 2 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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