On June 1, the Chicago Cubs were 25-27, in third place in the National League Central, three games behind Milwaukee. As of Aug. 15, they’d improved to 62-56, taken over first place and the Brewers had fallen into third. Also on June 1, we published an editorial calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to live up to his May promise to sign Senate Bill 1933, a measure that would make automatic voter registration the law of the land in Illinois. Rauner vetoed similar legislation in 2016, so lawmakers went back to work, crafting such agreeable legislation that it gained unanimous approval in both the House and Senate — a feat made even more staggering when placed in the context of the partisan rancor that has gripped and gridlocked Springfield for years. SB 1933 closely aligns the new automatic voter registration system with the state’s Real ID program and is designed to make the process less expensive, more modern and more secure. It also builds in the time it will take to develop a fair and effective system before launch, rather than putting the cart several lengths ahead of the horse.
Further, the plan offers an opt-out provision. That would make it possible for anyone to make sure they are not included on the voter rolls. We strongly encourage all eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote, but in so doing we accept the freedom of choice extends to the decision of whether or not to cast a ballot or whether to be registered at all. And so it became paramount for any automatic registration to include this option.
With all these safeguards in place, and with a promise from May that the governor would sign the bill, how is it possible we’re halfway through August and Rauner still hasn’t sealed the deal? If he doesn’t put pen to paper, the bill could die when the calendar turns to September.