A top Republican legislator added his name Friday to a Democratic push to guarantee voting rights for minorities, women and gays and lesbians in the Illinois Constitution, but it wasn’t clear whether his Senate counterpart is fully on board with the plan. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, backed House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, in his effort to expand voter protection for Illinois citizens. HJRCA52, the proposed amendment sponsored by Madigan that advanced out of a House committee earlier this week, says that no person can be denied the right to register to vote or cast a ballot based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income or status as a member of a language minority.
“I hope this constitutional amendment will eliminate any fear of discrimination potential eligible voters may have, and as a result will encourage more Illinoisans to exercise their right to vote,” Durkin said in a prepared statement.
Madigan’s legislation came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a key piece of the 1965 Voting Rights Act allowed states to set their own registration and voting laws.
Madigan cited examples in GOP-led states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas where analysts said new voting standards put into place by Republican governors and legislatures could suppress Democratic turnout in those states.