- Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 03:34 PM
“This is a simple step to help us engage more people and give them an opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.” –State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)
SPRINGFIELD- Currently there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote, but aren’t registered.
State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to change that.
Bennett sponsored Senate Bill 250, which would automatically register eligible citizens when they renew their drivers’ license or state ID. Today, the Illinois Senate voted 38-18 to override the governor’s veto.
“Democracy only works if people are engaged in the democratic process,” Bennett said. “This is a simple step to help us engage more people and give them an opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.”
The Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 250 with overwhelming bipartisan support during the spring legislative session, Governor Rauner vetoed the legislation in August.
Studies released by the Brennan Center for Justice found that every state that has modernized their registration system has saved money. Delaware recently improved its electronic voter registration system at DMVs, saving over $200,000 an year from its election budget.
Estimates show the annual county-level costs throughout the country for voter registration is at least $1 billion, or about one-third of the total county-level cost of administering elections.
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.