CHICAGO: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed last week the Automatic Voter Registration bill that had been endorsed by over 50 community organizations in Illinois, and passed the General Assembly with overwhelming, bi-partisan majorities.
Speaking on behalf of the statewide coalition on Monday, August 15, Kathleen Yang-Clayton of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Chicago expressed deep disappointment with Rauner’s decision.
“At any time, the Governor could have raised his concerns with SB 250, but instead he waited until the last minute and vetoed a good bill,” Yang-Clayton said at a press conference hosted by Cook County Clerk David Orr. “Automatic Voter Registration increases access to the ballot box, which is a crucial step to a more engaged electorate.”
Automatic Voter Registration would have removed the language barrier that keeps many from taking that first step to participation and it would automatically register approximately 60,000 new Asian Americans in Illinois. In addition, Automatic Voter Registration would simplify the voter registration process, increase election security by preventing fraud, and save the state money in the long-run.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Chicago and members of the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition, which includes Indo-American Center, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, and Muslim Women Resource Center, among others, endorsed Automatic Voter Registration this year, and worked with their legislators and community members to pass the bill
Recently, a lawsuit was filed threatening to stop Election Day Registration in Illinois, which has already been signed into law. The law permits eligible voters to register and vote on Election Day at polling sites in large cities, and at Clerks’ offices in less populous counties. Combined with the veto of Automatic Voter Registration, “this signifies a major step backwards for voting rights in Illinois,” continued Yang-Clayton.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Chicago says they will be leading the effort on both the legislative side as they seek to override the veto of Automatic Voter Registration, as well as lead the legal battle to preserve Election Day Registration. “Both laws are necessary as we strive to make Illinois a national leader in voting rights,” said Yang-Clayton.