Senate lawmakers again advanced legislation Friday that could automatically register many Illinoisans to vote, a victory for now for supporters who saw a similar effort last year vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for the revamped proposal after sponsoring Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, incorporated changes pushed by Rauner — a rare attempt at compromise in a statehouse that’s been marked by years of dysfunction and partisan bickering. “That is without question going to lead to more people, more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live, regardless of party affiliation, participating in our electoral process,” Manar said. “And regardless who wins an election, we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”
Rauner’s office, though, didn’t fully commit Friday to the new version, which now moves to the Illinois House and could be changed. Last year’s automatic voter registration proposal was approved by the House and Senate with overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans alike, but the governor vetoed the bill citing concerns about voting fraud and conflicts with federal law.
“We continue to work with stakeholders to address concerns with the legislation that passed last year,” Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said in a statement. “We hope our remaining concerns will be addressed in the House.”