Automatic Voter Registration

  • Harmon: Automatic voter registration benefits everyone

    harmon 020817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after automatic voter registration was signed into law:

    “I am pleased that automatic voter registration is now law in Illinois. This is a concept that benefits everyone. It saves the state money, it strengthens the integrity of the electoral system by cleaning up voter rolls and it makes it easier for Illinois residents to participate in the democratic process.”

    The new law establishes an automatic voter registration system in Illinois by July 1, 2018. Harmon was a chief co-sponsor of the measure, which passed the Senate on a vote of 48-0.

    Qualified voters will be automatically registered to vote when they visit the Illinois Secretary of State and other state agencies for services. Voters can opt out of the system, and a series of checks will protect against fraud.

    Illinois currently has an opt-in voter registration system in which adults who are 18 or older must find, fill out and submit a voter registration form to an appropriate government agency. Voters frequently forget to update their voter registrations when they move, change marital status or go to college, causing confusion at the polls and inaccuracies on the state’s voter rolls.

    Automatically registering voters when they do business with the state enables government to do away with redundant paperwork, streamline bureaucracy and be more cost effective for taxpayers.

  • Collins urges governor to sign automatic voter registration into law

    avr presser 060617SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jacqueline Collins joined representatives of Common Cause Illinois and numerous other activists, advocates and fellow Springfield lawmakers at a press conference in Chicago yesterday to commemorate the passage of automatic voter registration in Senate Bill 1933, which passed the General Assembly toward the end of the May legislative session.

    Collins said the next step is encouraging people to vote.

  • Senate builds unanimous support for automatic voter registration

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    After carefully negotiating changes requested by the governor, state agencies and other stakeholders, State Senator Andy Manar’s plan to modernize the voter registration process received unanimous support in the Illinois Senate today.

    “I am proud that the state Senate once again has voted to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois, and I hope the House will follow our lead and that Governor Rauner will sign it into law,” said Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill.

    If enacted, eligible Illinois citizens would be given the option to opt out of registering when they interact with certain state agencies, as opposed to the current system that requires citizens to opt-in.

    “At a time when we're seeing a major rollback of voting rights across the country, I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans came together and voted to expand access to the ballot in Illinois,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Voter registration laws disproportionately affect minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals. Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting and help ensure that all eligible Illinoisans are able to participate in our democracy should they so choose.”

    “I am happy to see this measure receive such great support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The right to vote is a pillar of our democracy. Automatic voter registration will bring more participation and allow more voices to be heard in the legislative process.”

    “Automatic voter registration is important to the health of our democracy,” said Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “There are so many existing roadblocks to participation. Something as basic as registration should not be one of those roadblocks. I am dismayed by how low voter turnout is, especially in local and off-cycle elections, and I believe that automatic registration will give more people an opportunity to let their voices be heard in the political process.”

    Currently, there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. Automatic voter registration will significantly reduce this number and will remove a barrier to voting for all eligible Illinoisans.

    “We should make it easier to vote, not harder,” said Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills). “This legislation will ensure that every Illinois resident who is eligible to vote doesn’t have to go through the sometimes burdensome process to register. This only enhances the voice of the voter during an election.”

    Rather than giving individuals the option to fill out a separate voter registration form when conducting business with a state agency, the measure would allow agencies to electronically transfer an individual’s data to the State Board of Elections. Automatically registering eligible voters will streamline bureaucracy, do away with redundant paperwork and save taxpayer dollars.

    “When it comes to modernizing state government, automatic voter registration checks all the boxes: it eliminates redundant paperwork, it cuts down on the number of times people have to interact with a government office, it curbs voter fraud, and it saves money,” said Manar. “The time is right for this reform.”

    “Not only does automatic voter registration remove a barrier to voting for eligible citizens, it is a common-sense way to modernize the registration process, reduce bureaucracy and duplication and save the state money,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “I hope this good government reform receives the same bipartisan support in the House and from the governor as it did in the Senate.”

    “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote and have a direct say in who represents them,” said Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “Making automatic voter registration law will save taxpayer dollars, streamline a government function and ensure the ballot box is as easily accessible as possible for voters.”

    In March 2015, Oregon was the first state to enact automatic voter registration. Since then, California, West Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Alaska and the District of Columbia have adopted automatic registration, and thirty other states introduced legislation this year.

    “In the end, this effort is going to register people to vote, no matter who they vote for – Democrats or Republicans. It’s going to save money, modernize government and streamline our system,” Manar said. “And it’s going to lead more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live or their party affiliation, to participate in our electoral process. That means we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”

  • Manar reacts to automatic voter registration override vote

    manar avr 112916Illinois voters and taxpayers will have to wait for the cost savings and streamlined bureaucracy that would have come with enacting automatic voter registration in the nation’s fifth largest state.

    The Illinois House on Tuesday was unable to follow the Senate’s lead and override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure to enact automatic voter registration and help Illinois maintain its status as a leader in making voting as simple and convenient as possible for its residents.

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

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  • Harmon disappointed in same-day voter registration ruling

    Harmon03032016Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today in response to a Republican-controlled think tank’s step toward curbing voter access in Illinois:

    “How disappointing that on National Voter Registration Day – a day intended to remind people of their right to register and vote in this country – a blatantly political effort to quell participation in Illinois elections was able to get a toehold in a courtroom.

    “Rather than seeking to scale back opportunities to register to vote in certain parts of Illinois, we should be working to expand access to the polls in all communities throughout the state.”

    Harmon was the chief Senate sponsor of the 2014 same-day voter registration initiative, which was challenged in court in August by the legal arm of a conservative political think tank that is backed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. A judge on Tuesday ruled in its favor and issued a preliminary injunction barring same-day voter registration in Illinois. It’s unclear if an appeal will be filed.

  • Senator Harmon interview on WMAY

    Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) stops by the WMAY tent at the Illinois State Fair to discuss the governor's veto of SB250, automatic voter registration.


  • Senate Dems: Voting access should be a top priority for Illinois

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  • 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.”

  • Automatic voter registration sent to governor’s desk

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  • Automatic voter registration moves forward in Illinois (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Senator Manar - Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator And Manar (D-Bunker Hill) shares his final thoughts before voting on his automatic voter registration proposal on the Senate floor.


  • Senator Harmon on Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) voices his opinion in favor of colleague Senator Andy Manar's automatic voter registration proposal on the Senate floor.


  • Senator Holmes on Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) voices her opinion in favor of colleague Senator Andy Manar's automatic voter registration proposal on the Senate floor.


  • Sen. Manar on Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) discusses the importance of automatic voter registration during a Chicago press conference on February 26, 2016.


  • Collins: automatic voter registration engages young people

    collins avrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) joined colleagues this morning as they explained why Illinois needs automatic voter registration. Illinois is ranked 23rd in the nation in percentage of eligible residents registered to vote, and the result is low levels of turnout and civic engagement. Supporters of Senate Bill 2134 say allowing eligible voters to opt out of being registered rather than having to opt in will also improve efficiency, accuracy and fraud detection.

    “Today’s young people are activists, and they are aware, but we need to help them make the link between protest and policy change, to become fully engaged in all facets of life in our democracy,” said Collins, who noted that only 40 percent of Illinoisans between the ages of 18 and 24 who are eligible to vote are registered. “That link is made at the ballot box.”

    The legislation Collins is co-sponsoring, SB 2134, would automatically register voting-eligible residents whenever they apply for, update or renew their driver’s licenses, unless they ask not to be registered. Because obtaining or changing the address on a driver’s license requires rigorous proof of identity and residence, registering more voters at Driver Services facilities could actually decrease the probability of voter fraud. The new approach would also streamline the voter registration process, eliminating duplicative paperwork.

    “Through immense struggles that defined us as a nation, many of those forgotten and marginalized have found their voices in the vote,” Collins said. “Now, we need to hear the voices of the next generation, as we bend toward greater inclusion.”

  • Sen. Collins on Automatic Voter Registration legislation

    Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) discusses her thoughts on Automatic Voter Registration laws at a press conference on January 13, 2016.


  • Sen. Biss discusses Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) discusses his perspective on Automatic Voter Registration laws at a press conference on January 13, 2016.


  • Lawmakers: Modernize and simplify voter registration (VIDEO)

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  • Sen. Harmon on Automatic Voter Registration

    President Pro Tempore Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) discusses the importance of Automatic Voter Registration at a press conference on January 13, 2016.