. . . again. It was vetoed last year by Republican governor Bruce Rauner.
Last year, Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (R) vetoed a version of Illinois’ automatic voter registration bill because he felt that it violated federal election laws and didn’t provide enough protections against potential voter fraud. The state’s House and Senate reworked the bill, hoping to satisfy Rauner’s concerns, and the revised bill has been passed by the House.
The Illinois Legislature has overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to automatically register qualified voters.
The proposal would register eligible individuals automatically when they visit Secretary of State’s offices and several other state agencies unless they opt out. The House endorsed it 115-0 Monday. It now returns to the Senate for agreements on changes.
Democratic state Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston is the measure’s House sponsor. She says the proposal would modernize Illinois’ voter registration system and increase participation.
A previous version passed both chambers last fall but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it over concerns it didn’t do enough to prevent voter fraud. Republican state Rep. Mike Fortner of West Chicago says this bill addresses all parties’ concerns.
The bill, SB1933, requires Illinois residents to “opt-out” of automatic voter registration when they interact with state agencies, and it provides that eligible applications for an Illinois driver’s license shall also serve as a voter registration application.
Following is the synopsis of SB1933 as it was first proposed:
Amends the Election Code. Provides that the State Board of Elections and the Office of the Secretary of State shall establish an automatic voter registration program pursuant to an interagency contract and jointly-adopted rules. Provides that an application for a driver’s license, other than a temporary visitor’s driver’s license or a State identification card, shall also serve as an application to register to vote; allow an update to registration; and perform other specified functions. Requires specified agencies to provide certain information regarding registration. Establishes designated automatic voter registration agencies; and requires the establishment of dual-purpose applications to register to vote.
NY Magazine provides an overview of other states that have enacted automatic voter registration.
The reform was first enacted in 2015 in Oregon and California. Oregon was the first state to fully implement the system, and it produced nearly 100,000 new voting participants (out of 225,000 eligible voters automatically registered) in the 2016 general election. The District of Columbia, Vermont and West Virginia approved AVR legislatively in 2016; Connecticut and Georgia instituted similar systems administratively the same year. Alaska voters approved AVR in the November 2016 elections. Colorado joined the movement in 2017, and now (once some House and Senate differences are worked out) it seems Illinois will as well.
Governor Rauner explained his initial objections that led to his veto last year.
It’s not clear when the new bill will make its way to Rauner’s desk.DONATE
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