Overturning Governor Bruce Rauner’s August veto of an automatic voter registration (AVR) bill passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly is not a sure outcome, despite bipartisan support of the bill (SB250) by both Republican and Democratic legislators. “Governor Rauner makes it clear he will attack those not in agreement; some Republicans will ‘peel off’ over a veto” and not vote to override it, said Cook County Clerk David Orr, an AVR bill proponent. “This is good legislation,” Orr noted. “It cleans the rolls and protects people. But it’s tough to fight a veto.” Senate Bill 250, sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Decatur) and in the House by State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), passed the legislature in May with broad bipartisan support: 86-30 in the House, 50-7 in the Senate. Rauner vetoed the bill Aug. 12. Legislators are scheduled to reconvene and consider an override in mid-November.
The legislation would make both registering to vote and updating voter registration automatic when individuals apply for a new or updated driver’s license at Illinois Secretary of State facilities.
It also would expand the registration system to allow individuals to register to vote whenever they conduct business or interact with the State’s Department of Human Services, Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Department of Employment Security, and Department on Aging. Individuals would be free to opt out of registration if they wish.
Currently, Illinois voter registration is “opt in”—citizens seeking services at these sites are asked if they would like to register to vote or update voter registration rather than having their updated information automatically shared for voter registration purposes.