Illinois becomes 10th State to enact Automatic Voter Registration
New York – Demos applauds Governor Rauner and the Illinois Legislature on approving Senate Bill 1933, automatic voter registration (AVR) legislation. After a veto last year, the Illinois legislature unanimously approved SB 1933, which was signed into law by Governor Rauner. This bipartisan legislation will provide opt-in voter registration at DMV offices, as well as other government agencies.
“We congratulate the Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate for unanimously approving AVR legislation and thank Governor Rauner for signing the bill into law. This bipartisan bill enjoyed overwhelming support and demonstrates the broad support for reforms that increase voter registration and participation. Our research shows that AVR laws such as Illinois’ can promote a more inclusive electorate, and we are particularly encouraged by Illinois’ inclusion of a variety of source agencies not limited to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This should increase the diversity of registered voters and help move toward our goal of achieving a democracy where everyone has an equal voice. This signing is the result of hard work and advocacy by local coalitions and groups, including Just Democracy Illinois,” said Liz Doyle, Vice President of Policy & Campaigns at Demos.
Illinois’ AVR system will provide opt-in voter registration at DMV offices, where motorists applying for driver’s licenses and permits can dually apply to vote—as well as make name and/or address changes—within a single set of transactions. Similar opportunities will also be made available through interactions at the Secretary of State’s office, as well as during interactions with government agencies that have been determined by the Board of Elections to be able to accurately verify voter information. Before officially applying, individuals will be allowed to decline registration without any penalty.
Illinois is now the tenth state to approve an AVR system, along with the District of Columbia. Since Oregon passed the first AVR law in 2015, nearly two thirds of state legislatures have introduced bills to implement automatic voter registration. Oregon’s program, which features an opt-out system of voter registration, added over a quarter-million new voters, which contributed positively to the 80 percent of all registered and eligible voters who cast ballots for the November 8 General Election.