* Press release…
The Illinois House of Representatives this week faces a critical opportunity to strengthen voting rights and make Illinois’ electoral process more secure and cost effective by voting to override the veto of SB250, a bill that would create automatic voter registration in Illinois. SB250 passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support in May but was vetoed in August. The Senate voted to override the veto earlier this month, but without a successful override vote in the House on week, the veto will stand.
Senate Bill 250 reforms current registration laws so that whenever an eligible Illinois resident receives services at a designated state agency such as Drivers Services, he or she will be automatically registered to vote in the local jurisdiction unless they opt out. Registered voters will also be able to update their voter information when they interact with these agencies.
Just Democracy Illinois, a broad-based coalition of religious, community and civil rights organizations, urged representatives to vote to override the veto. […]
Earlier this month, Republican lawmakers introduced a watered down automatic voter registration bill that SB250 supporters condemned as an effort to give political cover to Republican lawmakers seeking to avoid voting on the veto override. On Monday, the Just Democracy Illinois coalition and House sponsor Rep. Robyn Gabel again urged lawmakers to abandon alternative efforts and focus on the SB250 override.
* Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) insists the Republican alternative is a good bill…
During debate in the House last May, I raised this concern, but was told that there was not time to make changes before the deadline on May 31. The bill passed. Over the summer Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed SB 250. In his veto message, the governor identified a number of fixes needed for AVR to work properly in Illinois. Specifically, the governor sought to ensure that AVR in Illinois is consistent with federal voting requirements. His recommended fixes would also avoid problems when personal information is passed between state agencies, particularly in the age of identity theft and computer hacking.
In order to address many of the problems with Senate Bill 250 but also providing Illinois voters with automatic voter registration, I joined with Republican Leader Jim Durkin to file House Bill 6627. House Bill 6627 provides an opt-out box on a form like the driver’s license application. A similar, early opt-out method is used in California, Connecticut, Vermont and West Virginia. With this change, when a person opts out, their private, personal information goes no further than the initial agency and their privacy is respected.
House Bill 6627 also addresses the concerns raised by the governor that involve voter eligibility. The bill will require the Secretary of State to verify a voter’s eligibility at the time of application, as is done in the state of Oregon. House Bill 6627 also requires the applicant to attest to their eligibility to vote, as is required by the National Voter Registration Act and used by all other states that have AVR. These additions are not included in the bill Gov. Rauner vetoed. House Bill 6627 also allows any state agency that processes citizen applications to participate in AVR if they are technically able to do so. Illinois will be the first state in the union to allow such a broad AVR process for potential voters.
* But it may not matter one way or the other, as Finke notes…
The official reason for the veto session is to give lawmakers a chance to vote on overriding vetoes that the governor issued on bills in the preceding months.
During the first week of the session, the Senate did just that. The chamber voted to override Rauner vetoes on seven bills, including automatic voter registration and legislation raising the pay of home health care workers from $13 an hour to $15 an hour.
The House, meanwhile, continued to show that Madigan’s supermajority exists mainly on paper. The House tried to override four vetoes that Rauner made on House bills and failed on all of them.
Now the bills where the Senate approved overrides must still be approved by the House. If the House fails to do that, the bills will be dead.
I dunno, maybe a compromise is in order?