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Illinois To Enact Automatic Voter Registration

Following the success of automatic registration in states like Oregon and California, lawmakers in Illinois have approved a new law that will automatically add residents to the voter rolls through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

State representatives passed the law by a veto-proof super-majority of 86 to 30, according to ThinkProgress, and now it awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. While Rauner hasn't explicitly said he'll support the law, he has made favorable statements in the past, according to the Associated Press.

"I am a big fan of simplifying the voter registration process and trying to get everyone who should be able to vote, to get them registered and vote," Rauner said in mid-May.

Supporters of the law say if it is enacted, it will add as many as 2 million new voters to the rolls when it takes effect in 2018. Like similar laws in other states, voters can decline registration, but the default is to register voters who get new licenses or renew existing licenses.

"This is simply to make sure all citizens are registered to vote — and they can opt out," state Rep. Robyn Gabel, a Democrat, told the AP.

Some Republicans remain wary of the plan. Republican state Rep. David Harris said allowing passive voter registration, which does not require any action on the part of the potential voter, could lead to uninformed people pulling the lever on election day.

"It's important for the voter to have a little bit of initiative ...," Harris said, per the AP.

Some two dozen other states are considering similar automatic registration measures, following states like Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont.

Sources: Think Progress, Associated Press / Photo credit: Ralph Thayer/Wikimedia Commons

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