A measure sponsored by state Rep. Clyde Kersey aimed at improving voter turnout cleared the Indiana House on Wednesday and now awaits the signature of Gov. Eric Holcomb. House members concurred with Senate changes to House Bill 1178. The measure is the only piece of election reform that appears likely to pass this session, according to Kersey, D-Terre Haute. House Bill 1178 requires Bureau of Motor Vehicles employees to ask each person conducting business at the local license branch if they would like to register to vote. If the answer is yes, the employee must provide the proper forms to register, then provide additional information on how to file the paperwork with the county voter registration office.
Articles about voting issues in Illinois.
Illinois: Both sides agree legislative mapping should change, details on how and when are murky | Illinois News Network
Republicans and Democrats apparently agree. The way Illinois draws legislative district maps needs to change. But there’s disagreement on how and when to get it done. After every 10-year Census, the majority political party – Democrats for decades in Illinois – redraws the state’s legislative maps. Critics say that lets politicians pick their voters instead of voters picking their politicians. Even former President Barack Obama supports redistricting reform. A citizen-led effort to change the process failed to get in front of voters last year after an attorney with ties to the state’s leading Democrats, including Speaker Michael Madigan, successfully blocked the initiative just before a ballot-printing deadline.
Illinois would implement automatic voter registration in time for the 2018 general election under a bill approved by the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday. Similar legislation passed the Senate and House last year but was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Under the measure, Illinois residents who interact at secretary of state driver service facilities or several other state-agency offices would be automatically registered to vote, unless they opt out. A new version of the legislation, SB 1933, was approved by the Senate committee, 10-3, along party lines. “There are two significant differences following the governor’s veto last year,” said Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, the sponsor of the measure.
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.
Republican members of the DuPage County Board defended the proposed merging of the county election commission with the office of county clerk’s office in the face of criticism leveled at last week’s board meeting. During public comments made at the Feb. 14 meeting, several people expressed concern over such issues as new election commissioner salaries and the merger provision that allows board Chairman Dan Cronin, a Republican, to nominate the Democrat serving on an expanded five-member election board.
A bill introduced by State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) earlier this month would set up a ranked-choice voting system for state elections. The bill, which Biss introduced Feb. 1, would amend the state election code to have ranked-choice voting in elections for the following positions: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, secretary of state, treasurer and General Assembly member. According to the bill, voting would proceed in rounds, with voters ranking candidates and the last-place candidate being eliminated after each round. When two candidates remain, the candidate with the higher vote total would win.
DuPage County officials said they are fine-tuning a plan to merge their election commission with the county clerk’s office. County clerks manage election operations in Lake and Will counties, and the Cook County suburbs, as well as many other counties in Illinois, but DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said his merger proposal would preserve bipartisan oversight. “DuPage Election Commission is managed and governed by a bipartisan three-member board, and so I don’t want to simply discard that model. I want to improve that,” she said.
The DuPage Democratic Party chairman says he wants the county to revise its proposal to consolidate the election commission and county clerk’s office to make the move “truly bipartisan.” DuPage officials plan to ask state lawmakers to return election oversight power to the clerk’s office by merging it with the election commission. If approved, the commission would become a division of the clerk’s office. In addition, a five-member board of election commissioners would be created to set policy, hold meetings and receive public comment. The county clerk would serve as the panel’s chairman. Supporters say the plan keeps the election commission board, which currently has three seats and must have representatives from both major political parties. Republicans hold two of the three seats. But Robert Peickert, the DuPage Democratic Party chairman, says he’s concerned about increasing the election commission board to five members because county board Chairman Dan Cronin, a Republican, still would have the power to appoint four of them. “Bipartisan means you have the participation of the Democratic Party, which he has ignored,” Peickert said. “This is not bipartisan.”
A long-gestating piece of DuPage County reform may finally see its day on the voting block in Springfield, as the County Board chairman, clerk and Election Commission have proposed the consolidation of the latter two offices. Chairman Dan Cronin formally introduced the idea during the Dec. 14 board meeting, saying the move could both realize savings for the county as well as keep and expand the appointed, bipartisan Board of Election Commissioners. “When it comes to elections, there’s something very sacred about it,” Cronin said. “We here in DuPage County want to make sure we have the faith and trust and confidence of the public.” The proposal, which will need to be approved by the state legislature, would expand the board from three to five members, including two representatives from each major political party, appointed by the County Board chairman, and the county clerk as chairman.
Illinois: With automatic voter registration bill dead, many eyes turn to GOP alternative | Illinois News Network
After legislation on voting that would have automatically registered people who visit any one of several state agencies could not survive Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto, a Republican state senator’s bill may be the best option. On one of the last scheduled sessions of the year, lawmakers in Springfield didn’t have the votes to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have automatically added millions to the state’s voter rolls. While Rauner agreed with the concept of the bill, his central objection was that it would have left the state vulnerable to voter fraud. State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said her bill addresses that while still automatically registering voters at agencies such as the DMV. “This bill would give individuals a clear opportunity to opt out of the registration application and would be required at that time to testify by signature that they meet voter registration requirements on the front end,” Rezin said.