Online voter registration soon available in 18 states

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/2/2013

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law to make Illinois the 18th state to authorize voters to register online. Other states have also acted this year to make it easier to register to vote.

“Democracy works best when as many voters as possible raise their voices at the ballot box,” Quinn said in a news release.

Online voter registration is expected to be in place in Illinois for the 2014 general election. Applicants will need a driver’s license or state identification card and the last four digits of their Social Security number to register.

Voters can also request mail-in ballots online.

Illinois isn’t the only state to act this year to offer paperless, online registration. New laws in Virginia and West Virginia also allow residents to take advantage of the online option.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 12 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington – already offer online paperless registration. Six states – Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Virginia and West Virginia – have adopted rules allowing people to register online but haven’t yet implemented the process.

Quinn said that states already offering the online option have seen higher numbers of people sign up, especially young people. He said that online registration also saves states money because it’s cheaper to process than a paper registration.

Other states have similar electronic options. New York offers online registration, but it isn’t paperless. Paper copies are printed and processed for review before voters are added to the state’s registration database.

Ohio voters can change their address electronically. In summer 2014, New Mexico voters will be able to update their records online.

For more information on registering to vote in your state, visit

Copyright © OOIDA