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Illinois enacts Automatic Voter Registration

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bipartisan automatic voter registration bill into law Monday, after initially vetoing the bill claiming that it would increase voter fraud.

In passing this law, Illinois is the 10th state to institute AVR, and according to the Chicago Sun Times, it will be the farthest reaching automatic voter registration law in the nation. The law is expected to be fully implemented before the 2018 elections, and handled by the Secretary of State’s office. At that point, any IL resident that applies for a new driver’s license or state ID will be automatically registered to vote. This bill changes the current opt-in system to an opt-out system, a measure that (among many other positive things) could increase the number of registered voters in IL by almost 2 million according to Common Cause Illinois, who have been championing this bill since its introduction.

Not only does AVR benefit those who are not currently registered but eligible, it provides numerous benefits to those already registered. Many who go to vote are often surprised to find that they have been deleted or “purged” from the voter rolls due to outdated and error-prone voter registration systems. By modernizing the way we register voters in IL, we can alleviate many of these headaches. 

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