New Automatic Voter Registration Bill Could Expand Voter Participation

CHICAGO (CBS) — Backers of the new Automatic Voter Registration bill approved by the General Assembly said they cannot wait to see Governor Rauner sign the legislation, and put it into action.

Backers believe it will expand voter participation in Illinois. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

A spokeswoman for Governor Rauner said he thanks the sponsors and stakeholders who work with his office to craft the final version of this law. Anyone who applies for or updates a driver’s license will automatically be registered to vote unless they say otherwise.

Ra Joy, director of Change Illinois said this is a big deal in light of what is happening in 31 other states.

“In this year alone, there have been 99 proposals introduced to limit access to the polls – to make it harder for people to cast a ballot,” he said.

Evanston State Representative Robin Gables said it is needed.

“Unfortunately our current voter registration system has left more than two million eligible voters off the rolls. This legislation begins to address the problem,” she said.

orr voter registration New Automatic Voter Registration Bill Could Expand Voter Participation

Cook County Clerk David Orr discusses Automatic Voter Registration bill. (WBBM/Craig Dellimore)

Cook County Clerk David Orr said there are safeguards and bipartisan support here.

“We save money. It’s efficient. We clean our lists, which is most important to in fighting fraud,” Orr said.

But State Senator Jacqueline Collins said the next task is getting voters discouraged by recent partisan squabbling to want to vote again.

“I’ve been challenging them to want to move beyond that apathy and the hopelessness, to understand that the vote is their voice, and voting does matter,” she said.

Camille Williams with Chicago Votes said it is especially good for young voters like her.

“I know from personal experience that automatic voter registration will expand democracy in communities that need it the most,” Williams said.

But she admits the next challenge will be to get young people to vote when many have been turned off from the political system in recent years.

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