Illinois voter registration efforts ramp up a month from election

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With the November 4 general election about a month away the get-out-the-vote effort is ramping up in Illinois. (WLS)

With the November 4 general election about a month away the get-out-the-vote effort is ramping up in Illinois and thousands of voters have been registered thanks to the efforts of dozens of groups.

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The deadline for normal registration to vote is midnight Tuesaday. But eligible Illinois residents will have their chance to register up until and including on Election Day.

More voter registration applications arrived Monday afternoon at the office of Cook County Clerk David Orr.

"Registration in suburban Cook is going to be significantly up over four years ago," Orr said. "My guess is we'll easily be more than 25,000 registrations up over four years ago."

And city residents account for most of the 100,000 new voter registrations collected by "Every Vote Counts," a coalition that targeted low to moderate income neighborhoods and young people.

"Anywhere possible that I knew there was going to be a young person there, I was there to make sure we registered our people to vote," said DeJuan Jackson, Chicago Votes.

There was record low voter turnout for the March primary election, especially in the heavily Democratic city of Chicago. The party is hoping its support for ballot issues, including the minimum wage increase, will gin up turnout that could help Democratic candidates.

"You can call them gimmicks or whatever you want to. We just say this gives people here in Illinois a chance to vote their values," said William McNary, Citizen's Action.

During the past year, the Democratic-controlled General Assembly also passed bills permitting on-line voter registration, extended early voting and Election Day registration.

"There are certain places all throughout the state where they can vote and register on election day," Orr said.

The registration numbers so far appear to indicate voters have not been entirely turned off by the barrage of negative ads in the governor's race.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle does not like the style, but says she understands why candidates do it.

"Negative advertising works," she said. "So as long as it works, as long as it proves to be effective in campaigns people will do negative advertising."

To register on-line, you must have a valid Illinois driver's license or state ID. And to register after midnight Tuesday, you must do it at your County Clerk's Office in the city at the Chicago Election Board.

Early voting begins on October 20.

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