* The House overwhelmingly passed House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposal to prohibit voter discrimination…
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposed constitutional amendment, which would be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot, says no person should be denied registration and voting rights based on race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language or income.
The House sent the measure to the Senate on a 109-5 vote.
The measure seeks to counter a June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that dislodged part of the 1960s-era federal Voting Rights Act and prompted eight states to attempt to restrict access to polling booths, Madigan said.
”That has brought on legislation in other states that some of us would consider voter suppression,” Madigan said, pointing to how voter photo identification laws have disproportionately impacted minorities and the poor.
* This argument against the idea was totally bogus…
State Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, voiced concern that the push by Madigan was merely an attempt to short-circuit a move by GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner to get his signature-driven, term-limits constitutional amendment on the fall ballot.
Some commenters have also repeatedly brought up this issue even though I’ve pointed out to them that they’re wrong. Nowhere in the Illinois Constitution are there limits to the number of popular initiatives. Legislative initiatives are limited…
The General Assembly shall not submit proposed amendments to more than three Articles of the Constitution at any one election.
But that has zero impact on how many popular initiatives can be submitted to voters.
* Anyway, back to the debate…
“The intent of this constitutional amendment is to provide in Illinois, constitutionally, that voter-suppression laws would not be permitted,” said Madigan, D-Chicago. “Some might say, ‘Well, today in Illinois, you don’t need this. Voter suppression wouldn’t happen in Illinois.’
“We don’t know that,” Madigan continued. “We don’t know what the future holds. What we do know is we can constitutionalize the protection of the right to vote.” […]
Reis, who voted against Madigan’s plan, also said there is no evidence Illinois is currently engaging in any form of voter suppression.
“This is a constitutional amendment in search of a problem,” Reis said.
On that point, Rep. Reis is probably more accurate.
Jim Durkin told The Associated Press on Tuesday the state party has “had an identity crisis for many years now.” He said he believes it’s important for people to know Republicans believe Illinois residents who are citizens should not denied the right to vote.
“Republicans, we’re going to win with addition,” Durkin said. “We need to dispel some of the notions that have been hanging over the GOP for years, that we’re a party of white suburban men. For me this was an easy decision.”