Automatic voter registration in Illinois will take effect this year

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - In 2018, the Secretary of State's office is the first to start automatically registering Illinois residents to vote when they apply for a new or updated driver's license.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law into effect last year but it was initially vetoed over concerns of voter fraud.

With changes to the language in the legislation allowing voters to opt out, Governor Rauner signed the bill into law last summer.

"What this means is when you go to apply for your driver's license, they will automatically register you," explains Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney.

Kinney believes this will register thousands of new voters.

"I would think that they would want to get involved in their local races," says Kinney. "There's races that go on in wards and townships and if you're not registered at the right address you'd be left out of all of that."

July 1st, 2018 is when the law will officially take effect. Other public agencies, such as Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will finish its process by 2019.

Oregon was the first state to adopt legislation like this; Illinois is the tenth.

Early voting for Illinois primary elections begin on February 8th. Election Day is March 20th.