The Illinois Senate Executive Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday on a bill to establish automatic voter registration in Illinois. Members of the Just Democracy Coalition are among those expected to testify in support of the legislation at today's hearing.
State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is the sponsor of SB 250, under which Illinois residents would be automatically registered to vote when they apply for, update or renew driver's licenses or state ID cards with the Secretary of State.
Illinoisans who do not wish to register would have the opportunity to opt out.
The Just Democracy Coalition backs the legislation. The group's member organizations include the Action Now Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, CHANGE IL, Chicago Votes, Common Cause Illinois, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Illinois PIRG.
"Every American -- Democrat, Republican, Independent -- has a fundamental right to vote and to have their vote counted. Automatic voter registration will create a more modern, secure, and accurate voter registration system for the voters of Illinois," Illinois PIRG Executive Director Abe Scarr said in a statement.
Action Now Institute Executive Director Katelyn Johnson added: "The voices of black communities, through disenfranchisement, often go unheard. Allowing voters to be automatically registered not only clears a path for healthy civic engagement, but also allows communities to come together to educate each other on the policies that impact their neighborhoods. Using the time and resources it would take to register tens of thousands of new voters every year, organizations and communities could work to educate and empower voters to make their voices heard. We believe that can be accomplished with Automatic Voter Registration."