Diverse Coalition, Bill Sponsors Urge Gov. Rauner to Sign Bipartisan Automatic Voter Registration Legislation Before Friday Deadline

avr votingCHICAGO-- With one day left for Governor Rauner to sign or veto bipartisan Automatic Voter Registration legislation, the Just Democracy Illinois coalition  joined the bill’s legislative sponsors to call on Governor Rauner to sign the bill into law on Thursday.

“Automatic Voter Registration will add eligible Illinois voters to the rolls, make our voting lists more accurate, and save taxpayers money over time,” said Abraham Scarr, Co-Coordinator of Just Democracy Illinois and Director of Illinois Public Interest Research Group. “We urge Governor Rauner to seize this opportunity to modernize voter registration in Illinois.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 250, would modernize the process of voter registration when applying for a driver’s license, state ID, or social services by automatically sharing data with the board of elections. Illinois would join five other states who have adopted Automatic Voter Registration policies in the last year and a half.

“Automatic voter registration was a significant bipartisan success in both houses of the legislature this spring, earning yes votes from Democrats and Republicans alike who recognize the importance of making voting as simple and accessible as possible for the people of Illinois,” said Senator Andy Manar, the Senate legislative sponsor.

“There is no down side to automatic registration,” said Manar. “State government, voters and taxpayers all stand to benefit because of the efficiency and the savings that it would generate. I urge the governor to sign this measure.”

Governor Rauner has yet to take a public position on the bill, but has spoken positively about getting more eligible voters registered. The Governor has 60 days to take action on a bill once the legislature sends it to him. Friday is the last day for him to take action on SB250.

“Governor Rauner should join his Republican members in the House and the Senate who supported this common- sense, good government legislation and sign the bill,” said Representative Robyn Gabel, the House sponsor of the bill.  

Automatic Voter Registration has become an increasingly bipartisan solution in a policy area which often breaks down on party lines. Illinois followed Vermont and West Virginia in passing legislation on a bipartisan basis with votes of 50-7 in the Senate and 86-30 in the House.

“As restrictive voting laws are being thrown out by federal courts around the country, Illinois has the opportunity to be a true leader in voting rights and voter participation,” said Celina Villanueva, Co-Coordinator of Just Democracy Illinois and NADP/Youth Engagement Manager of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Just Democracy Illinois is a coalition of good government, civil rights, and civic engagement organizations. Their campaign for Automatic Voter Registration was endorsed by over sixty organizations including faith, community, labor, disability rights and environmental organizations.

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