Voting is a fundamental right and part of what makes America great. Our democracy works best when everyone makes his or her voice heard on election day, but unfortunately not everyone is, thanks in part to our outdated voter registration system. In the last presidential election, its estimated that over a million eligible voters tried to vote but were turned away because of registration problems.
We can do better. Over the past several years, Illinois has taken significant steps to modernize and improve voter registration and election administration. We should continue this process and work towards Universal Registration where every eligible voter is on the rolls, only eligible voters are on the rolls, and the state takes responsibility to build the rolls and automatically updates voters’ records where possible.
The next important step we can take towards Universal Registration is Automatic Voter Registration. Automatic Voter Registration means using reliable information already in state databases to register eligible citizens to vote or update their voter registration status. When an eligible voter interacts with a state agency like Driver Services, they would be automatically registered to vote unless they take action to opt out. In 2015, California and Oregon became the first two states to adopt Automatic Voter Registration.
There are many reasons to support Automatic Voter Registration (AVR):
- AVR greatly expands access to voting. AVR promises to add many more eligible Illinois voters to the rolls, making it more likely they will participate in elections, strengthening our democracy.
- AVR makes our voter rolls more accurate and secure, by more frequently updating records when voters move, and by eliminating duplicate records. More accurate voter lists better insure the integrity of our elections.
- For many of the same reasons AVR is more accurate, it is also more efficient and over time will save taxpayers a significant amount of money.
The Just Democracy Coalition supports an AVR policy that:
- Is enacted in all state agencies covered by the National Voter Registration Act (Driver Services, Human Services, Health and Family Services, Employment Security, Aging),
- Takes appropriate steps to ensure non-citizens are not accidentally registered,
- Maintains key privacy protections, and
- Includes pre-registration of 16 and 17 year-olds so that their registration becomes active when they become eligible by age.
News and updates:
- View the press conference to announce Automatic Voter Registration.
- State Journal-Register: Automatic voter registration bill could simplify process for many in Illinois, supporters say
For more information visit the Just Democracy website.
To learn more about our initiative and how you can help contact JustDemocracyIL(at)gmail.com
Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE)
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI)
Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Chinese American Service League (CASL)
Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA)
Citizen Action Illinois
Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC)
Common Cause IL
Equip for Equality
Faith Coalition for the Common Good
Gamaliel of Illinois
Illinis Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
Japanese American Service Committee (JASC)
Korean American Community Services (KACS)
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC)
Lao American Association of Elgin
Latino Policy Forum
League of Women Voters IL
Muslim Women Resource Center (MWRC)
National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore Section
National Nurses Organizing Committee
National Nurses United
Planned Parenthood IL
Rainbow Push Coallition
SEIU Health Care II
The People’s Lobby
The Reclaim Campaign