Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, vows to continue working to make voting easier and more accessible in Illinois, despite the governor’s veto of bipartisan legislation that would have made Illinois the fifth state to enact automatic voter registration.
“Automatic voter registration was one of the few issues that brought Democrats and Republicans together in both houses of the legislature this spring. I am disappointed the governor chose to veto this very good, very important measure,” Manar said.
“The governor talks a lot about the need to streamline bureaucracy and cut government waste. Automatically registering voters would have allowed us to do exactly that. Although this veto is a setback, I will continue to work with advocates to ensure voting access is a top priority in Illinois.”
Manar was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 250, which would have initiated an opt-out voter registration system instead of the current opt-in system. Under the proposal, eligible Illinois voters would have been automatically registered to vote when they visited the Illinois secretary of state and other similar state agencies for services.
The system would have curbed redundant paperwork, streamlined a government function, helped the state to clean up its voter rolls and saved money for taxpayers.
Some opponents feels auto registration could open up the potential for voter fraud or make it easier for noncitizens to be registered.
Gov. Bruce Rauner explained his veto by saying the legislation does not require applicants to affirm that they meet voting qualification or to sign an application. Both are required by federal law. He says it’s up to the State Board of Elections to weed out ineligible voters but that it’s ill-equipped to do so.
Rauner says he will continue to work on improvements
The measure garnered bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature this spring. The Senate voted 42-16 for the legislation, and the House voted 86-30 for it.
Four states, including California, Oregon, West Virginia and Vermont, implemented automatic voter registration systems and have realized significant savings for local and state governments, Manar said.