IL Senate to hold hearing on proposed Automatic Voter Registration bill


Chicago: Christian Diaz | (773) 657-0102 |
Springfield: Abe Scarr | (312) 983-2789 |

SB250 will streamline and simplify voter registration in Illinois with reforms to make Illinois voter rolls the most secure and accurate possible.

WHAT: The Illinois State Senate Executive Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 250, which would create Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois, switching the voter registration process from an opt-in to an opt-out model.

WHERE: Illinois State Capitol, Executive Committee, Room 212

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20th, 3:30 PM

SPRINGFIELD— A proposal to streamline and simplify voter registration in Illinois will be heard during an Illinois Senate hearing on Wednesday, April 20th.

Senate Bill 250, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), reforms current registration laws so that whenever an eligible Illinois resident applies for, updates or renews a driver’s license or state ID, he or she will be automatically registered to vote in the local jurisdiction unless they opt out.

Illinois has 7.5 million registered voters. According to the US Census Bureau, there are 9.9 million residents of the state 18 years of age and older, with 2.4 million not registered to vote. Rural communities as well as communities of color, immigrants and young people will benefit from automatic registration.

Senator Manar introduced the proposal this spring, and Wednesday’s hearing will be a chance for advocates to weigh in on the value of the legislation. Andy Kang with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago and Abe Scarr with Illinois PIRG will testify in support of the bill on behalf of the Just Democracy Coalition, the group responsible for helping the state pass online voter registration in 2013 and election day registration in 2014.

“The voices of Black communities, through disenfranchisement, often go unheard. Allowing voters to be automatically registered not only clears a path for healthy civic engagement, but also allows communities to come together to educate each other on the policies that impact their neighborhoods. Using the time and resources it would take to register tens of thousands of new voters every year, organizations and communities could work to educate and empower voters to make their voices heard. We believe that can be accomplished with Automatic Voter Registration,” said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director, Action Now Institute.

“The voice of the Asian American community, especially at the ballot box, is growing. Keeping our election systems secure, fair and up-to-date with the increasing diversity of our democracy is a cause that all Illinoians should support,” said Kathleen Yang-Clayton, with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago.

“Every American — Democrat, Republican, Independent — has a fundamental right to vote and to have their vote counted. Automatic voter registration will create a more modern, secure, and accurate voter registration system for the voters of Illinois,” said Abe Scarr, executive director at Illinois PIRG.

The Just Democracy coalition is led by a steering committee that include Action Now Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, CHANGE IL, Chicago Votes, Common Cause Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Illinois PIRG, with over 50 other organizations signed on to support SB250.