CHICAGO (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie questioned the motivation behind Illinois’ new same-day voter registration law and the state’s certified ballot as he campaigned for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday, the same day Vice President Joe Biden was expected in Chicago.
Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, scrutinized the timing of Illinois’ voter registration measure, which takes effect for the Nov. 4 election, and the State Board of Elections’ recent decision to allow a governor and lieutenant candidate team from the Libertarian Party, but not one from the Green Party, on the ballot. State election officials said the Green Party didn’t have enough valid signatures, while the Libertarian Party did.
But Christie alleged the moves were attempts to boost votes for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. A Libertarian team could siphon conservative votes from Rauner, and Republicans in other states have criticized measures expanding voting over concerns about possible fraud.
“You people in Illinois make New Jersey blush,” Christie said at Rauner’s headquarters. “Every obstacle that can be placed in front of Bruce by the establishment in this state will be placed in front of him. The great news is he’s strong enough to overcome those.”
Rauner is trying to unseat Quinn, who is seeking a second full term in one of the most competitive and expensive races nationwide.
Quinn was expected to appear later Monday at an event with Biden and Mayor Rahm Emanuel before an evening fundraiser. Rauner wasn’t at the Christie event because he was taking his son to college. His campaign wouldn’t say where.
Last week, state election officials certified a ballot that included several poll-style questions directed at voters on the minimum wage, birth control and a millionaires’ tax. But a signature-driven effort led by Rauner for term limits was left off because courts found the measure unconstitutional.
An elections spokesman didn’t immediately return a call Monday.
Earlier this year, Illinois joined 10 other states allowing same-day voter registration. The law also removes the photo identification requirement for in-person early voting, among other things. Backers said the changes will improve access, increase turnout and modernize election law.
Christie’s Monday itinerary included two fundraisers, for the RGA and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican facing a re-election challenge from Democrat Ann Callis, a former judge.
Biden’s afternoon visit to Chicago, which comes as he’s ramping up political activity ahead of the midterm election, was for a discussion on raising the minimum wage, which Quinn has made a cornerstone of his re-election bid.
Illinois voters will be asked a nonbinding question on the ballot if the state’s wage should be increased from $8.25 to $10 by 2015. Emanuel wants the city’s wage to be $13.
Follow Sophia Tareen at http://twitter.com/sophiatareen.