SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) recently introduced a plan that would streamline the voter registration process in Illinois. On Friday, he joined numerous state lawmakers, advocacy groups and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to call for support of the proposal.
“Automatic voter registration is a completely bipartisan issue in my mind. It would replace our costly, inefficient and outdated system that’s currently in place.” Manar said. “We should not be content with only having a small fraction of eligible Illinoisans voting, we should strive for 100 percent.”
Senate Bill 2134 will automatically register eligible voters when they apply for, update or renew a driver’s license or state ID unless they opt-out. It would reduce the state’s reliance on duplicative, handwritten paper work.
"Every Illinoisan—and every American—who is eligible to vote deserves to have access to the ballot. They deserve to have their voice heard," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. "I’m proud that Illinois is working to fulfill that goal. I look forward to working with Senator Manar and Representative Ammons to advance their legislation. And I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to pass laws like the Voting Rights Advancement Act, so that all Americans can exercise their fundamental right to vote."
It’s estimated that over 1 million people were denied the right to vote in the 2012 election, and one in four eligible United States citizens is not registered to vote.
"I’ve long championed the belief that government should make voting easier for people. It should make voter registration automatic, as well,” said Cook County Clerk David Orr. “For government to be good and effective we must harness the powers of the technology.”
Manar’s legislation has received support from numerous support and advocacy groups all over the state, including the Chicago-based group Chicago Votes.
"Automatic voter registration is a necessity in our fast paced society. Especially for young people like me, increasing registration access and efficiency is an important step to ensure equity in voting and inclusion for all in the voting process of Illinois," said Zana Marino, a volunteer with Chicago Votes.
Senate Bill 2134 is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate.