A Senate committee approved a new automatic voter registration plan Wednesday, sending to the floor a proposal that advocates say is tighter than one Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected last year. Democratic Sen. Andy Manar’s plan would allow residents to automatically register to vote when they visit certain state agencies. The Senate committee endorsed Manar’s measure Wednesday with a 10-3 vote. Rauner vetoed similar legislation last year, fearing it did not contain enough safeguards to prevent voter fraud. Rauner’s spokeswoman, Eleni Demertzis, wouldn’t say whether he supports the new plan. The updated version requires residents to confirm their eligibility before information is passed along to election officials or confidentially opt out instead. Its predecessor would have filed applications regardless, leaving election officials to follow up.
Supporters said the proposal would cut costs and bolster turnout by modernizing the registration process.
U.S. citizens already have the option to register to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or state ID at Secretary of State’s offices. Manar’s plan would allow residents to fill out dual applications when they visit the DMV along with four other state agencies, including the Department of Human and Family Services and the Department of Public Health.
“The goal here is to make it easier for taxpaying citizens to interact with their government,” Manar said.