Automatic Voter Registration Off to Rocky Start in State

By Benjamin Cox on October 17, 2019 at 5:26am

Anyone who is getting a new or updated driver’s license in the State of Illinois is now automatically being registered to vote. Electronic Automatic Voter Registration became law in the state in August 2017 under former Governor Bruce Rauner.

The state has been slow in rolling out the measure, as automation for the process began in July when the Secretary of State’s office began issuing Real IDs under new federal government regulations and updating technology. People who do not get driver’s licenses with the Real ID program must “Opt In” to voter registration like year’s past. According to NBC-Chicago, roughly 25,000 have been automatically registered to vote since July. Overall, roughly 600,000 have been registered since July 2018, through all the changes in the law, including new opt-in processes.

The Illinois law also required four additional state agencies — the departments of Employment Security, Financial and Professional Regulation, Human Services, and Natural Resources — to register people to vote with an opt-in process by July. Each of those agencies have had problems falling into compliance with the law, but are seeing an uptick in voter registration numbers each month.