- Published: Friday, August 12, 2016 07:19 PM
Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), an advocate for expanding access to voting in Illinois, expressed disappointment Friday in the governor’s veto of bipartisan legislation that would have made Illinois the fifth state to enact automatic voter registration.
“Illinois has taken significant steps the past few years to make the franchise more accessible and more convenient for voters. Our efforts began with early voting and continued with online voter registration, vote-by-mail and same-day voter registration. I was pleased to be an ambassador for all of these measures,” Harmon said.
“Automatic registration is a natural and logical extension of our already successful efforts to modernize and simplify the voting process in Illinois. I am disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I will continue to be a champion for commonsense measures like automatic voter registration.”
Harmon was a sponsor of Senate Bill 250, which would have initiated an opt-out voter registration system instead of Illinois’ current opt-in system. Under the proposal, eligible voters would have been automatically registered to vote when they visited the Illinois secretary of state and other similar state agencies for services.
The system would have curbed redundant paperwork, streamlined a government function, helped the state to clean up its voter rolls and saved money for taxpayers.
The measure garnered bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature this spring. The Senate voted 42-16 for the legislation, and the House voted 86-30 for it.
Four states, including California, Oregon, West Virginia and Vermont, implemented automatic voter registration systems and have realized significant savings for local and state governments.