Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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Today the Illinois State Senate voted to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 250 on automatic voter registration.

“I thank my colleagues for their support on this important override," Chief sponsor of SB 250 Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. "Automatically registering people to vote is an idea that is gaining traction all over the country, as we saw just last week when Alaska voters got on board. It just makes sense in every regard. State government has the technology and the know-how to make voter registration a seamless and secure process for busy Illinoisans."

“No amount of disproven right-wing conspiracy theories about voter fraud and illegal immigrants flooding the polls change the fact that voters and taxpayers expect their government to work for them, not the other way around," Manar continued. "Illinois’ early voting and same-day voter registration figures are proof that people want to participate at the ballot box, and they want to do so in a way that is modern, convenient and as simple as possible. Why shouldn’t we make that happen for them?”

Automatic voter registration – which garnered bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature in the spring but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner during the summer – will enable the state to eliminate unnecessarily redundant paperwork, streamline a government function, clean up its voter rolls and save money for taxpayers.

Manar was the chief Senate sponsor of the measure.  

Other senators reacted to the override to Senate Bill 250’s veto.

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park): “Automatic voter registration is a commonsense, good-government measure that streamlines services and saves money while requiring state bureaucracy to work for the people, not the other way around. There is no reason to force citizens to interact with state government twice when once will do the job. We can offer one-stop shopping – you get your driver’s license and you’re registered to vote. Automatic voter registration is a logical next step in our ongoing efforts to expand the franchise in Illinois and encourage people to participate in elections. It would alleviate the need for same-day registration, put an end to duplicative government paperwork, save the taxpayers money and make life easier for the people of Illinois.”

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement: "I proudly voted once again today to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois. There is no reason the governor should have vetoed this common sense plan that will make the voter registration process more efficient and open the doors of democracy to eligible voters. In light of how many people did not vote in the recent election, it is even more imperative that we takes steps to make it as easy as possible for people to vote and participate in our democracy."

State Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago): “This legislation will streamline the process for voter registration and will ensure that eligible voters are better able to access the ballot,” Mulroe said.  “It updates the voting rolls so that as citizens move, their registration is updated.”

State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) noted that the power of checks and balances prevailed today: “I stand in strong support of this legislation because we live in a democracy, and everyone deserves to have their voice heard,” Harris said. “This legislation will create an easier, cost-effective registration process and promote participation in our democracy. It is my hope that my colleagues in the House will share the same sentiment.”

Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin): “This year while visiting Springfield, President Obama called for us to reduce barriers to voting and set an example for the nation by passing automatic voter registration, a much needed step in our state. With this legislation we ensure that every person in the state is able to add their voice to determining the future. Voting will become easier than it ever has in the past and I am proud to be a cosponsor and again add my support.”

Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills): “We need to be opening doors and making it easier for our citizens to participate in their democracy. This is about ensuring that those who should have a voice get their right to be heard at the ballot box.”

AVR veto 111516Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago): "I’m hopeful the legislation’s new revisions will gain the governor’s support and become law. Increasing youth voter participation will allow a necessary voice in our political system. Making it easier for residents to vote, especially young people, is important because our youth will eventually be the leaders of this state and country.”

Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora): “The people have, in no uncertain terms, demanded that their fundamental right to vote for their representatives in government be made easier. This is not a measure that ever should have been vetoed. I am gratified to join my colleagues in overriding this mistake and I urge the House to do the same.”

Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake: “In a time when products and services arrive at our doorsteps with the swipe of a finger, there is no moral argument for doing anything less than making this fundamental right as accessible as possible to citizens. The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to use today’s technology to make voting easier. It should not have met with a veto.”

Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago): “Barriers to voting and registering to vote must be taken down to ensure all citizens have access and can make their voices heard at the polls,” Silverstein said. “Giving greater access for voter registration enhances our democracy and, at the same time, ensures greater accuracy in record keeping and saves taxpayer dollars.”

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) spoke on the Senate floor during debate on the AVR veto:




Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago): “Latinos are the demographic with the largest number of people turning 18, and we have the responsibility to energize and empower them to engage civically. I’m proud to support a measure that strengthens everyone’s voice in our democracy.”

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston): “Automatic voter registration is an issue that brought Democrats and Republicans together in the Illinois Legislature in the spring, and it continues to generate bipartisan support all over the country – Alaska being the most recent example. Every day that we carry on with our current, duplicative method of registering voters is another day that taxpayers foot the bill for unnecessary government bureaucracy. Senate Bill 250 has been thoroughly vetted, it makes sense and it should be the law in Illinois.”

Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights): “Voting in America today is supposed to be a fundamental right enjoyed by all citizens,” Hutchinson said. “Years of hard work guaranteed that discriminatory laws and barriers were broken down to give women, people of color and lower-income voters the chance to have their voices heard. We should be working to advance these policies, making voting simple, easy and accessible for all.”

Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park): “Streamlining this process will save the state money, remove duplicate voter records and engage more people in the democratic process,” Cullerton said. “It’s our duty to make sure Illinois residents are given the opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.”
Generations of Americans have fought hard for their right to vote.  It is important that we honor their sacrifices by making it as easy as possible.”

Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign): “Democracy only works if people are engaged in the democratic process,” Bennett said. “This is a simple step to help us engage more people and give them an opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.”

Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield): “Streamlining our voter registration process saves local governments money, decreases the risk of voter fraud and has the potential to expand citizen’s voices in our democracy,” Morrison said. “It is important the state take advantage of rapid advancements in technology that increase government efficiencies and strengthen the core of our democracy.”
Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines): “Encouraging more people to get involved in our democratic process – at a lower cost to taxpayers – can only be beneficial to our state. The governor’s veto of legislation that initially received overwhelming bipartisan support is pure gamesmanship.”

Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago): “With the passing of this legislation, many eligible voters will now have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Our communities will be positively impacted by this legislation for generations to come.”