Hoping to draw more young people into the political process, Senate Democrats passed an interesting bill (SB 2925) out of the Elections Committee yesterday that would require county clerks to conduct early voting and grace period registration on college campuses across the state. Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign), the lead sponsor, told the Champaign News-Gazette that the legislation "would reduce the barriers [to voting] that exist in our democracy."
The Republicans on the committee didn't seem to share that goal, however, unanimously voting against the measure. They argued that it would create an unfunded mandate on local governments, a concern raised by the Illinois County Clerks Association. But it's hard to swallow the GOP's criticisms when they have so little credibility on the issue of voting rights. This is the party that voted against an extension of grace period voting last year and floated the idea of implementing a mandatory (and completely unnecessary) voter identification law in 2008.
I'm sure their resistance to expanding the franchise has nothing to do with their party's dwindling popularity among the 25-and-under set.