By Charles Thomas, abc7chicago.com
Supporters of automatic voter registration have accused Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner of playing politics with voters rights.
On Friday, the governor vetoed an automatic voter registration bill for Illinois.
Supporters say the vetoed bill would have immediately updated current voter rolls and dramatically increased Illinois registrations beginning in 2018.
On Monday, surrounded by activists and several Democratic lawmakers, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Rauner’s veto of the so-called automatic registration bill is undermining democracy.
“Undermined the goal of efficiency, undermined the goal of accuracy in our list and undermined the goal of ease in people registering,” Orr said.
The bill passed both chambers of the state Legislature last spring with overwhelming bipartisan support: 50-7 in the Senate and 86-30 in the House.
If the governor had signed the bill, anyone who applied for a driver’s license or conducted routine business with a state agency automatically would be registered to vote.
“There are still millions of people who are eligible to vote but are not registered,” said state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston.
Rauner said he supports modernizing the election system and easing voter access.
However, Rauner wants to continue negotiations on the bill. He said, in its current form, the bill violates federal election law and creates an opportunity for voter fraud.
“Not everyone in Illinois who interacts with state government and receives some government benefit is a citizen,” Rauner said.
But some of the measure’s supporters say Republican Rauner is trying to delay automatic registration to tamp down Democratic turnout until after his own re-election campaign in 2018.
“His attempts at changing the political process are to deny poor and middle class people access to democracy,” said state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago.
Lawmakers will have chance to override the governor’s veto this fall. Three-fifths majorities in each chamber is needed.
The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on Nov. 15.