By KEVIN BESSLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Illinois has slipped, but remains in the top 10 of a 50-state ranking that measures the amount of time and effort it takes to vote.
The 2022 Cost of Voting Index is the brainchild of Northern Illinois University political scientist Scot Schraufnagel. The nonpartisan academic study examined the time and effort required to cast a ballot in each state following a number of new laws passed by lawmakers around the country following the 2020 election.
The research is based on rankings in 10 categories, including poll hours and access to early in-person voting.
“Voter registration, a lot of focus there,” said Dr. Schraufnagel. “Can you get registered to vote on the day of the election, or is there a 30-day deadline or some other deadline? Is there automatic voter registration when you go to get a driver’s license?”
Illinois is ranked ninth in the nation in the index.
“Illinois had been ranked higher, but since the 2020 election, several states have gone to all mail voting,” said Dr. Schraufnagel.
Controversy has already arisen this election season in Illinois after an error on the 2022 ballot in Schuyler County resulted in dozens of early votes in the U.S. Senate race being expected to be thrown out. The initial ballots listed the name of the Republican candidate for state senator as Peggy Hubbard rather than Kathy Salvi. Ms. Hubbard lost to Ms. Salvi in the primary.
According to the study, Oregon, Washington and Vermont are the easiest states to vote in. New Hampshire, Mississippi and New Hampshire are the most difficult.
Voter turnout for the primary election in Illinois was at a meager 21%. The turnout will likely be much higher for the midterm general election, which is Nov. 8.