Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 01, 1861The Registration Law (Editorial)
A bill to ascertain the qualifications of voters and prevent fraudulent voting is before the Illinois Legislature and will undoubtedly be passed after some minor changes have been made.
The main provisions of the bill are that every voter must be registered or that his right to vote must be certified at the polls by two voters who are registered. The lists of voters will be prepared by the assessors who estimate the value of property for the purpose of taxation. They will deliver the lists to the clerks of the towns or cities, and the clerks will arrange the names in alphabetical order. Registration boards will be established and meet each year, on the first Monday in November, to complete the lists. The sessions of the boards will be public and will be held two weeks before each special election, as before each municipal election.2
Although the provisions of the bill are very strict, they will in no way hinder the free exercise of the right to vote.
However, one of the provisions in Section twenty-eight does not appear to be suitable to the purpose. It provides that a person may not vote in a precinct unless he has lived in it for sixty days prior to the election. Heretofore only ten days' residence was required, and no specified length of residence was required in county elections. The matter would be of no importance, were it not for the fact that at the time immediately preceding the November elections a great many people move from the suburbs into the city, or from one precinct to another, and according to the proposed law, they would be deprived of their vote. Only sixty days residence in the city should be required, but not sixty days residence in the precinct in which the voter wishes to cast his ballot. The other provisions of the bill are sufficient to prevent fraudulent voting.
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