Lawmakers to try for veto override on automatic voter registration

Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 2:48 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 2:39 PM CST
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(KFVS) - Lawmakers in Illinois are pushing to override the governor's veto of a bill aimed at increasing voter registration.

That move would automatically register eligible Illinois residents to vote at the time they apply for a driver's license or state-issued ID.

After receiving overwhelming support from both houses in the spring session, the effort was stopped cold in August when Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a full veto on the bill, forcing lawmakers to either override his veto, or start from scratch.

An override would require a three-fifths majority in both houses.

A separate, new bill would take at least a year to be drafted and move through the house and senate.

State Senator Andy Manar said he plans to file an override of SB 250 on November 15, 2016 when lawmakers return to session, and expects progress to be made later in the week.

The governor said he supports the ideology of the measure but is worried how the bill is written is too open-ended.

The governor also raised concerns that a lack of specific protocol in the bill could lead to people accidentally being registered who aren't supposed to be, such as non-citizens or convicted felons.

"Senate Bill 250 does not require an applicant to attest to meeting the qualifications to vote or to sign the application, as required by federal law."

The Governor wrote in an August 12, 2016 explanation of his veto.

"In the haste of amending and passing the bill on the last day of the spring legislative session, [proponents] concede that the bill does not plainly and clearly describe the process they envision. For the past several weeks, my Administration has been working closely with the proponents and lawyers for all four legislative caucuses to address the concerns described below. I remain hopeful that these concerns can be addressed and we can together enact a bill that achieves our shared goals."

--Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

The Veto message went on to outline a list of suggestions and explanations on things the governor said could be improved on the bill.

Some voters and local elections officials are also supportive of the bill, but want lawmakers to be sure it is correctly implemented.

"We might handle it relatively well, because we have massive registration fluctuations every other year with the college students wanting to participate in elections," said Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt on Monday, "but this will mean extra man hours, new protocols, and possibly another line item or two in the budget. Especially smaller counties might struggle with that, but regardless, It needs to be very well-rehearsed at the state level for it to be implemented anywhere smoothly."

"Look at why Governor Rauner vetoed the bill and try and fix anything he said was wrong with it," said voter and SIU student Nathan Bryan on Monday. "Maybe he was wrong, but there are times that I feel that both sides of the aisle aren't listening to each other, but trying to push through whatever they want. There needs to be listening on both sides of the aisle."

"Any point along the way, the governor can call a meeting to negotiate," Manar said on Monday. "From my read of the governor's veto message, all of the governor's concerns have already been addressed, and had been before he shot down the bill, hours from the deadline himself."

Manar said if the same numbers are seen this week, the override will be successful.

To read the bill, click here.

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