Automatic Voter Registration Supporters Blast Rauner For Veto

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 15, 2016 7:08PM

Proponents of the automatic voter registration bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed on Friday blasted him Monday morning, saying there was no reason he should’ve vetoed the bill.

“Governor Rauner’s veto hits the pause button to progress,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, chief co-sponsor of the bill. “We have all seen powerful images of young people projecting injustice and calling for change. They tell the bitter truth government doesn’t always work for them and their families. They need the power of the vote and pained registration systems are often in the way.”

The bill, which passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan report, would’ve automatically updated voter registration for Illinoisans seeking a new or updated driver’s license or other state services, provided they met the qualifications for voting in the state and didn’t opt out. Rauner vetoed the bill late Friday afternoon, saying it violated federal law and citing concerns of potential “fraud.”

“The consequences could be injurious to our election system.” said Rauner in a statement (ht Capfax). “We know that non-citizens have registered to vote in Illinois after obtaining a driver’s license and voted in recent elections.”

Proponents of the bill however, say that Rauner could’ve addressed his concerns anytime in the months legislators and groups were working on it, that the measure would’ve increased security and his veto increases inefficiency in getting people registered.

“At any time the governor could’ve raised his concerns, instead he waited until the eleventh hour and vetoed a good bill,” said Kathleen Yang-Clayton, Deputy Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “This is a step backward...The facts show his veto makes us less secure, terribly inefficient, lists less accurate - even the problem they talked about could’ve been solved,” said Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Orr also added that the AVR bill would’ve fixed two of the only three instances of fraud Rauner cited, all of which are more than a decade old.

In fact, while there’s no shortage of groups that continually make claims of rampant voter fraud in the United States, there seems to be a shortage of statistical evidence. A 2012 News21 investigative analysis of more than 2,000 alleged voter fraud cases found about one case of fraud for every 15 million eligible voters in the United States. A 2012 Mother Jones analysis found that UFO sightings were more common than voter fraud.

The bill would’ve also helped streamline cleaning up old lists before the November election, which would’ve eased the burden on same-day registration. According to Orr, some 700,000 people have old registration addresses, and AVR would’ve gone a long way in updating that information. “Your veto has undermined these voters,” said Orr.

While the bill’s supporters were unwilling to outright call Rauner’s veto a voter suppression tactic, some made juxtapositions between it and suppression efforts in other states such as voter ID laws.

“Between Governor Rauner’s veto of Automatic Voter Registration, and the pending lawsuit that seeks to stop Election Day Registration, Illinois is moving away from making the franchise more accessible, and moving toward the sort of tactics that have suppressed the vote in other states across the nation.” said Just Democracy Illinois, an umbrella group of more than 50 organizations that were pushing the bill in a statement. “Now is not the time for Illinois to move backward on voting rights.”