A bill that would enable Illinois residents to automatically register to vote when they apply for, update, or renew a driver’s license or state ID passed out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.
The legislation, which is sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar, would allow the Secretary of State’s office and other similar state agencies to submit eligible voters information to the State Board of Elections when visiting facilities for services.
“The basic information that the secretary of state’s office and other state agencies get on a daily basis is everything an individual needs to register to vote,” Manar said in a statement. “So, this plan would simply allow for you to begin the voter registration process in the same time it takes to update your license or get a state ID card.”
The bill would streamline the registration process, eliminating certain steps and saving taxpayer dollars.
“This plan will help boost voter turnout, save the state money and ensure that every eligible voter in Illinois has the chance to exercise their right,” Manar added.
Aside from expanding access to the polls and streamlining the registration process, automatic registration would also improve the accuracy of the state’s voter rolls. Electronic filing of voter registration would also reduce inadvertent human error related to the process.
“This is another important step in expanding access to the polls and ensuring Illinois’ voter registration process continues to improve,” Sen. Don Harmon, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
According to a release provided by Harmon, Gov. Bruce Rauner has also expressed support for simplifying the state’s voter registration process.
Similar legislation is being passed and considered nationwide. Oregon, California, West Virginia and Vermont have passed similar measures and twenty other states are considering similar bills.
The measure passed the Senate by a 42-16 vote Thursday and will now be sent to the House for further consideration.