Cook County Clerk David Orr and a diverse coalition of elected officials and civic and community groups on Monday denounced Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have brought Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) to Illinois.
At a press conference at Orr’s office, he and those who had supported and worked on passage of the bipartisan-supported bill expressed their disappointment in Rauner’s veto. Rauner vetoed the bill on Friday. The bill, sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Andy Manar and in the House by State Rep. Robyn Gabel, passed the legislature in May.
“The governor vetoed a good government bill that had widespread, bipartisan support, which would have helped modernize and update voter registration records, and would have broken down barriers to registration for so many eligible voters,” Orr said.
Illinois would have been the sixth state with Automatic Voter Registration had the governor signed the bill.
“Nearly 700,000 people in Illinois remain registered at addresses where they no longer live,” Orr said. “AVR was going to fix this.”
A coalition of more than 50 groups statewide “worked with policymakers and legislators from both sides of the aisle for seven months to get this bill passed,” said Kathleen Yang-Clayton of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago. “At any time the governor could have raised his concerns with SB 250, but instead he waited until the 11th hour and vetoed a good bill.
“This veto signifies a step backwards for voting rights in Illinois,” Yang-Clayton said.
Representative Gabel said she is “determined to have legislation that ensures every citizen is enfranchised.” She called voting “a basic right” and not something that should be a privilege for those who can jump through the hoops to get registered.
State Rep. Carol Ammons, as well as the other state legislators at the press conference, vowed to work to override the governor’s veto. “We deserve the right to make sure that every American can register and vote. “Voting is a fundamental right. It brings balance and access.”