Statement on Governor Rauner’s Veto of Automatic Voter Registration Bill

August 12, 2016
Statement from the Clerk

With today’s veto, Gov. Bruce Rauner condemned 700,000 hard working Illinoisans to another unnecessary interaction with government. I am greatly disappointed by the governor’s veto of SB 250, the Automatic Voter Registration bill that was passed with bi-partisan support in the state legislature in May. Automatic Voter Registration is a proven good government measure that would have significantly helped modernize and streamline the state’s voter registration rolls, while taking the registration burden off the backs of Illinois voters.

The consequences of the governor’s decision are many, and seriously detrimental to the efficient administration of elections throughout the state of Illinois. The bill would have allowed modern technology to update voting records quite easily. Today’s action sends a clear signal to voters that the governor would rather work to impede, not expand access to the vote. 

Nearly 700,000 people in Illinois remain registered at addresses where they no longer live. AVR was going to fix this. Now we can't. These individuals will need to interface with government—again—in order to re-register. 

Automatic Voter Registration, heralded by non-partisan good government groups, saves taxpayers money, improves the accuracy of voter registration records and boosts voter participation. It makes the process of voter registration – and knowing if one is registered to vote – less confusing and intimidating to voters, and it works to potentially decrease lines on Election Day. 

AVR is already law in numerous states, as legislatures, of both political stripes, have realized that it provides for government to directly serve citizens. 

Gov. Rauner’s veto proves again that he would rather push his own personal political agenda above any effort to make government work for the citizens of Illinois. 

I thank everyone who shepherded AVR legislation through the House and Senate, supporters, and many other county clerks, elected officials, and civic groups who advocated for Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois. 

I would hope that the state legislature in its next session could pick up the Automatic Voter Registration torch, and do whatever is possible in order to secure and modernize our state’s voter rolls and opening the remaining barriers to voter registration. Our work is not over. We will continue to fight until AVR is in Illinois.

David Orr,
Cook County Clerk