In the last 48 hours alone, more than 5,000 Common Cause IL members have already contacted their State Senators and State Representatives demanding an override vote during the veto session. Last Friday, Governor Rauner defied the bipartisan supermajority that passed Automatic Voter Registration (SB250) and vetoed the bill which would have saved money and allowed up to two million eligible voters to participate in our democracy.
Rob Hayes, a Common Cause member from Hyde Park, said “This is as common-sense as legislation gets, supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Making sure all eligible voters have access to the ballot box shouldn’t be controversial. Governor Rauner is clearly more concerned about his own reelection than about making sure two million Illinois citizens can access their fundamental right to vote.”
“Governor Rauner’s veto of Automatic Voter Registration is an unfortunate example of partisan politics,” said Walter Lindwall, a Common Cause member from Champaign. “Rauner had an excellent opportunity to make Illinois a leader in voting rights, but instead put his own reelection efforts above the 2 million Illinoisans who would be affected by Automatic Voter Registration.”
“Regardless of race, creed, class, or political party no Illinoisan should have to jump through hoops to participate in the democratic process,” said Alexander Vasconcelles, a Common Cause member from Evanston. “Governor Rauner’s reasons for vetoing the Automatic Voter Registration bill are a distraction meant to hide the partisan politics that drive his opposition.”
“This is the most active we have ever seen people across the state,” said Trevor Gervais, Lead Organizer with Common Cause Illinois. “Between now and the veto session, our members will be working in districts across Illinois to hold elected officials accountable. To vote for the Automatic Voter Registration bill in May and not vote to override this veto in November is partisan politics at its worst.”
On May 31, SB250 passed the Illinois State House with 86 votes and the Illinois State Senate with 50 votes, both exceeding the three-fifths majority needed to override a veto. The bill is now sent back to the Senate, where they will have the opportunity to override the veto when they are back in session on November 15th. Automatic Voter Registration has already been passed or implemented in Oregon, California, Vermont, West Virginia, and Connecticut. This bill would add Illinois to that list, making our state a leader on voting rights across the country.
SB250, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), reforms current registration laws so that whenever an eligible Illinois resident receives services at a designated state agency such as Drivers Services, he or she will be automatically registered to vote in the local jurisdiction unless they opt out. Registered voters will also be able to update their voter information when they interact with these agencies. SB250 is supported by more than 65 organizations across the state of Illinois as a part of the Just Democracy Coalition.
Common Cause Illinois has worked with the Just Democracy coalition to pass both Online Voter Registration and Election Day Voter registration, and our more than 20,000 members across the state will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that two million eligible voters can participate in our democracy.