* Cole Lauterbach at the Center Square…
Illinois’ automatic voter registration program, though not fully-implemented, appears to have allowed more than 500 non-citizens onto various county’s election registries.
In letters first obtained by Bloomington-based political blogger Diane Benjamin, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office notified the State Board of Elections that a keypad glitch in the non-REAL ID license and identification card process allowed a number of non-citizens to have their information forwarded to ISBE from July 2, 2018, to Dec. 13, 2019. Those non-citizens were then sent voter cards.
“We caught the error and we’ve identified everybody,” Secretary of State spokesman Dave Drucker said Friday. “We’ve sent them a letter and the State Board of Elections acknowledging that it was our error.”
The non-eligible DMV customers made their way onto the state’s voter rolls when the keypads they used to enter information incorrectly added their information to bundles of correctly registered customers.
“Since these applicants have indicated “No” to an attestation regarding citizenship, there is a strong possibility these individuals were not citizens at the time of their application, however, that does not necessarily mean they are not currently citizens,” according to letter from an elections official sent on Dec. 30.
The errors, as admittedly serious by authorities, represent less than one percent of the more than 740,000 new voters registered through Illinois DMV facilities since the automatic voter registration program began in July .
It’s actually 0.078 percent.
The SoS letter to the Board of Elections is here. The ISBE letter to local officials is here.
* But there’s more to it than that…
The Illinois State Board of Elections acknowledged that out of 574 non-U.S. citizens who were inadvertently registered to vote in Illinois, an unknown number of them may have voted illegally in the 2018 election.
“We do know that some of them voted” in the 2018 election, spokesman Matt Dietrich said in a phone call on Monday afternoon, though his office was not immediately able to determine how many of them may have voted, or how many may have been legal citizens who simply filled out their state form incorrectly. Dietrich expects the elections agency will have more specific answers when state workers return to their desks after a government holiday. […]
It remains unclear how many of the 574 people impacted may have actually cast a ballot in 2018, in part, because state employees at the elections board couldn’t be reached on a state holiday. A spokesman for the agency expects to have a more specific answer on Tuesday. Non-citizens who vote in American elections can face swift consequences, including immediate deportation.
* Kyle has a point…
Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker said the list did not include undocumented immigrants. The glitch affected Illinois residents who had green cards, but were not eligible to vote. […]
“Potentially 574 self-identified non-citizens, these are that were people that were doing the right thing when they went into the Driver Services facilities and they were doing the right thing saying they were non-citizens, but they were still forwarded to register to vote,” state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield said. “This is an egregious break of state law.
“This is exactly what we were talking about when automatic voter registration was debated – that these are the potential problems that could exist,” Butler said. […]
In a letter to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, Butler asked for an immediate hearing either this week or next week when lawmakers return for the start of the spring legislative session. He said the Secretary of State Office must be held accountable and elections must be secure.
Heads should roll and we also need a complete accounting of this mess. Like now.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Matt Dietrich at the Illinois State Board of Elections…
We know that 19 votes were cast from the 545 who were registered. However, it’s possible that some of those who checked the “no” box on the citizenship question did so in error. Because of that possibility, it’s up to the local election authorities to determine the voting status of the voters in their jurisdiction whose AVR applications were errantly forwarded.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Well, at least we know that the one-vote margin in the Macon County sheriff’s race last year likely wasn’t impacted…
*** UPDATE 3 *** Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)…
There is absolutely no room for administrative error when it comes to properly conducting our election system. Democrats and Republicans came together and unanimously approved automatic voter registration, and we expect it to be done correctly. We need a gaugeable plan of action from the Secretary of State’s office to make sure such errors never happen again. If it takes a Senate committee hearing to get those answers, that’s the course I’ll pursue.
*** UPDATE 4 *** Letter signed by all 19 Senate Republicans…
The rule of the law is the bedrock of our nation, and while the Illinois State Board of Elections, charged with safeguarding our election process, did the right thing by notifying the public of the error, we have questions regarding this program that the Secretary of State should answer, such as:
* Will the SOS disclose which DMV locations erroneously registered these individuals to vote?
* Will an investigation be conducted to identify those responsible, and what actions will be taken to rectify the issue?
* What assurances can the SOS provide to ensure this never happens again?
It is imperative the residents of Illinois know their elections are being managed and conducted in a lawful manner, and ensuring our laws are being implemented correctly is a practical matter, not a partisan one.
*** UPDATE 5 *** The governor…