Automatic Voter Registration

Common Cause works tirelessly to advocate for election reform measures to increase access to the ballot box and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote.  Through our Automatic Voter Registration campaign in Illinois, we successfully fought for and won a system that will make it significantly easier to register to vote.  

Many Illinois residents have already provided the documents needed to register to vote while receiving driver's licenses or other state ID cards.  Automatic registration changes the system into one that is opt-out, meaning that everyone who completes the application for a license or other qualifying document is automatically registered to vote.  This will increase the number of registered voters in the state of Illinois by up to 1.13 million people!

On January 28, 2016, SB250 was introduced to the Illinois State Senate by Senator Andy Manar. The bill was passed with bipartisan supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate, and was sent to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk on June 13th, 2016.  Despite Common Cause’s tireless efforts with the Just Democracy Coalition to garner support for the legislation, the Governor failed to deliver for the people of Illinois and vetoed the bill.

Immediately following the Governor’s veto, Common Cause and its partners in the Just Democracy coalition began working relentlessly on a new version of the bill. After months of hard work negotiating with leadership from both parties and key stakeholders, Automatic Voter Registration again passed both the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois State House on May 29, 2017. The bill enjoyed unanimous bipartisan votes in both houses, marking an unprecedented display of support for AVR. SB1933 was then sent to Governor Rauner’s desk for approval. 

On August 28th, after Common Cause mobilized thousands of members and supporters to contact his office to implore him to sign the legislation, Governor Rauner signed the most comprehensive AVR framework in the nation into law. While Common Cause celebrates this landmark legislation in Illinois, we continue to work to ensure that voting rights are expanded in Illinois.

Today, Common Cause is working with its local and national partners and the implementing agencies to ensure that the implementation process moves forward as smoothly as possible. As part of this work, Common Cause is helping to identify and recommend best practices for infrastructure and registration efforts for state employees.

In addition, we are mobilizing our 35,000+ members around the state to roll out a civic engagement and public education campaign that explains around voter registration issues.

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