Automatic Voter Registration

Common Cause Illinois is working 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 Registration campaign, we are fighting for a system that will make it significantly easier to register to vote.  

Under the current system, each person is required to register to vote by opting-in. However, many Illinois residents have already provided the documents needed to register 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 could increase the number of registered voters in the state of Illinois by up to 2 million people!

On January 28th, 2016, SB250 was introduced to the Illinois State Senate, with Chief Co-sponsors Senator Andy Manar and Senator Jacqueline Collins. During this time Common Cause members were in Springfield, tirelessly meeting with state legislators and getting the word out about AVR. After months of hard work, AVR passed the Illinois State Senate and Illinois State House on May 31st. The bill passed with wide bipartisan support. In the Senate, 50 of 57 Senators supported the bill. In the house, 86 Representatives voted yes, including 14 House Republicans. With strong bipartisan support, SB250 was sent to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk on June 13th, where he would have 60 days to sign the bill into law.

Immediately after the bill got to Rauner, over 1000 Common Cause members contacted his office imploring him to sign the bill. Over the next two months, we conducted surveys and kept in contact with the legislature while awaiting the Governor’s decision. Then, on the 11th hour of the 60th day, August 12th, Rauner failed to deliver for the people of Illinois, vetoing the bill and actively denying voting rights to an estimated 2 million Illinoisans. He went against his own party and his constituents. Common Cause went to work immediately, calling for state legislators to override the governor’s veto. Over 6000 members have already contacted their State Representatives and Senators and urged them to override the Governor’s veto. We will continue fight for Automatic Voter Registration and ensure that Rauner's veto is overridden. 

Get involved by joining our Voter Rights Action Team!

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