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SoS office takes more heat on AVR

Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’m not sure I totally get the uproar here. If you were 16 years old and would turn 17 before this year’s primary, you’d be eligible to vote in the primary as long as you turn 18 by the general election. So, starting the registration process for 16-year-old kids doesn’t seem to be a giant scandal. That being said, the ISBE was well within its rights to block the registration process from starting

The Secretary of State’s office allowed approximately 4,700 16-year-olds to begin the voter registration process under the state’s automatic voter registration program, officials said Wednesday. […]

Board of Elections spokesperson Matt Dietrich told The Daily line that the board had noticed a large number of voter registration applications for 16-year-olds were flowing in from the Secretary of State’s office, and had sent letters to roughly 4,700 of those teenagers letting them know their applications to register to vote would not be processed.

Secretary of State officials told the board Wednesday that the agency’s system now prevents a voter application from being forwarded to the Board of Elections if a person checks “no” on either the question about their citizenship or if they are 18 years or older after a recent programming fix.

While a recent law allows for 17-year-olds to vote in Illinois primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election, Dietrich said there’s no way a 16-year-old should ever be registered.

“There’s no getting around that,” Dietrich said. “That’s why we were kicking [the 16-year-olds] out.”

Some board members said they were worried about a potential “chilling effect” on young people voting if the very first interaction they had with a voting authority was a letter saying they were too young to vote.

The SoS and the Board of Elections needs a much better communications process.

* Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady responds…

The Illinois Secretary of State needs to suspend the AVR program until all glitches, known and unknown, are fixed. There clearly also needs to be an independent investigation into how these glitches occurred, why they were unreported and what can be done to ensure this never happens again. Our vote is our most cherished right in a democracy, and even just one illegal vote can tarnish the credibility of the entire system.

…Adding… A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office says they will no longer send those applications to the board of elections.

       

24 Comments
  1. - fs - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:29 am:

    == Some board members said they were worried about a potential “chilling effect” on young people voting if the very first interaction they had with a voting authority was a letter saying they were too young to vote.==

    So, what, they wait until they show up to the polls and then tell them they can’t vote? How is they any less “chilling”? Unless they’re suggesting just let them vote underage…


  2. - Out Here In The Middle - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:35 am:

    In software development you frequently hear people say “you can have fast, good, or cheap . . . pick two”. Since “cheap” is frequently a requirement in government and “fast” was required by the legislation . . . . . Well, you get the idea.


  3. - Rabid - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:35 am:

    I’d like to help you son but your to young to vote


  4. - Bruce (no not him) - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    My question is What does the law say about registering 16 Year olds? If the law allows it, no big deal. If not, big deal.


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    ===What does the law say about registering 16 Year olds? ===

    They weren’t registered by the SoS. There’s a difference between starting the process and actually registering them.


  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:47 am:

    Look, we’re always trying to find new, outta the box ways to encourage young people to get involved in government and public service.


  7. - Same old Illinois - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:51 am:

    Maybe the legislators should inquire whether or not the system can even handle the laws they pass before passing them. Sounds like very poor planning to me. What’s new?


  8. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    Seems like the simple fix is to not even have to ask if they are 18 or older. It’s the SOS for cripe’s sake. They already have a person’s date of birth, or get it as part of the initial DL application, so that should answer the question for them. Programming in the next primary and general election dates should tell them who is eligible to register under the new law. Proceed with those that are. Politely tell the rest that they are not yet eligible.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    Disappointed Leader Brady has decided to make this the “straw - back” on AVR.

    What needs to be fully fleshed out are the terms “process”, “registered”

    A smarter, more prudent, path would be to explore how the SoS and State Board of Elections can first have better communicators and further have a true pass-thru double check where both signing off on process is… the process.

    === just one illegal vote===

    We’re dying on the hill of a16/17 year old that was in a process of registering?

    I know the Raunerites are all-in on voter suppression, but alienating young voters that you seemingly want to deem “illegal”… welp.., that’s one way.


  10. - JSS - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 9:58 am:

    I can’t think of situation where a 16 year old would be 18 and eligible to vote in the next general election. Assuming that the 16 year old gets a drivers license on the last day they are 16 years old and the primary is the same day they turn 17, they would still have to wait a full year until they turn 18. I’m not aware of any general election that is a full year away from the primary.

    Secondly, I don’t understand this sentence in the quoted article at all: “the agency’s system now prevents a voter application from being forwarded to the Board of Elections if a person checks “no” on either the question about their citizenship or if they are 18 years or older ” Why are non-citizens and those under 18 even given the opportunity to check the “no” box?

    Wouldn’t a simpler solution be to NOT offer ineligible voters the opportunity to register? I’m not 100% sure the SOS knows a person’s citizenship status, but I’m pretty sure they know someone’s age.


  11. - revvedup - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    Planning?? Illinois don’t need no stinking planning (Banned punct.)

    Software testing BEFORE going live?? :crickets:

    Everybody sing the jingle: “Illinois; our government is second-rate.”


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    ===I can’t think of situation where a 16 year old would be 18 and eligible to vote in the next general election. ===

    November 1, 2018 the kid turns 16 and gets her drivers license.

    November 1, 2019 the kid turns 17 and can vote in the 2020 primary and general.


  13. - JSS - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    ===November 1, 2018 the kid turns 16 and gets her drivers license.

    November 1, 2019 the kid turns 17 and can vote in the 2020 primary and general.===

    You are correct, but as the BoE spokesman points out, current law only permits registration at 17 if the voter will be 18 at the time of the general election. State agencies are only able to do what they are authorized by statute to do.

    I could get behind a “pre-registration” argument where the pertinent information is gathered from 16 year olds and then upon turning 17 or 18 their registration is made official, or transferred to the Board of Elections automatically by the SOS, but I don’t know if I have enough faith in bureaucracy to believe such a process would actually work.


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    ===only permits registration at 17 ===

    And the 16-year-olds weren’t registered.


  15. - Quibbler - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    Seems like we could avoid a lot of trouble here by just lowering the voting age to 16.


  16. - Columbo - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    “The Illinois Secretary of State needs to suspend the AVR program until all glitches, known and unknown, are fixed.”

    Not sure how we fix the “unknown” glitches, although maybe that’s how we found ourselves in this pickle /s


  17. - Quibbler - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    == Wouldn’t a simpler solution be to NOT offer ineligible voters the opportunity to register? ==

    An even simpler solution: abolish voter registration entirely. That’s how they do it in North Dakota.


  18. - Jocko - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    ==even just one illegal vote==
    “…that will most likely vote democrat”

    Fixed it for him.


  19. - Bruce (no not him) - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    “And the 16-year-olds weren’t registered.” Nope, but the SOS tried. And that is the problem.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    ===Nope, but the SOS tried===

    Nope. The SoS doesn’t register voters.


  21. - Billy - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    This may give some insight to SOS and this issue!!
    https://www.sj-r.com/news/20200128/sos-union-takes-strike-vote-but-will-continue-to-negotiate


  22. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    second strike against SoS on AVR.


  23. - RNUG - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 11:55 am:

    == Seems like we could avoid a lot of trouble here by just lowering the voting age to 16. ==

    Or raise the age for a Driver’s License …


  24. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 30, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    As a deputy voter registrar, I’ve processed several applications for those under the age of 18, so long as they turn 18 prior to the general election. All of them were 17 at the time. I don’t recall processing one for any pre-primary votes where any of them would have still been under 18.

    I get some of the uproar, but . . . assuming they showed up on election day or to early vote or demand a paper mail early voting ballot, would these 16 year olds been denied or would they have been allowed to cast some provisional ballot until it gets all sorted out?

    Better. Communication. Please.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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