- Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 04:13 PM
SPRINGFIELD- Currently there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote, but aren’t registered.
To alleviate this problem, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) sponsored Senate Bill 250, which would automatically register eligible citizens when they renew their drivers’ license or state ID.
“Streamlining this process will save the state money, remove duplicate voter records and engage more people in the democratic process,” Cullerton said. “It’s our duty to make sure Illinois residents are given the opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.”
Governor Rauner vetoed this legislation in August.
Under current law, eligible citizens are allowed to register when they renew their license or state ID. Senate Bill 250 would change the rule from an “opt-in” system where citizens have to actively register to “opt-out” where they can choose to not register to vote.
States that have already modernized their systems, like Alaska, Delaware and Oregon, have found that the modernization makes voter rolls more accurate and current. These changes make the system easier to maintain and cut down on redundancies and inaccuracies. Voter registration information is updated regularly and cross referenced with other state databases.
“Illinois needs to modernize its systems,” Cullerton said. “Generations of Americans have fought hard for their right to vote. It is important that we honor their sacrifices by making voting as easy as possible.”
In 2012, the Pew Center found that more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters. Modernizing the registration system would help remove them from voter records.
Estimates show the annual county-level costs throughout the country for voter registration are at least $1 billion, or about one-third of the total county-level cost of administering elections.