Illinois Governor Vetoes Automatic Voter Registration, Bernie Sanders Calls For State Lawmakers To Override

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner earned a spot on Bernie Sanders' Twitter feed when he vetoed a bill that would make voter registration in Illinois automatic. Rauner cited potential voter fraud and federal laws conflicts to support his veto of SB 250, Automatic Voter Registration (AVR). Senator Sanders, the former Democratic candidate for President who nearly tied Hillary Clinton in Rauner's state by trailing only 1.8 percentage points in the Democratic primary election, called for the Illinois state legislature to employ their powers to override the governor's veto.

The legislation that would have made voter registration automatic for Illinois adult residents received overwhelming support in the state House and Senate. In the House, it passed 86-30. In the Senate, it passed 50-7. The law would take effect in 2018 and would not have affected the 2016 presidential race. Residents could opt-out of voter registration if they didn't want to be included among the voter rolls.

"I strongly support efforts to encourage greater voter participation in our democracy and share the goals of this legislation," Rauner said in a statement, though he vetoed the bill that would have greatly encouraged voter participation. "Unfortunately, as currently drafted, the bill would inadvertently open the door to voter fraud and run afoul of federal election law. We will continue working with the legislature and key stakeholders on language that meets our shared goals while complying with federal law and preventing voter fraud."

Illinois law requires lawmakers to oppose a veto within 15 calendar days in order to override the governor's decision. They can override the governor's veto with a vote of three-fifths of each lawmaking body in the state.

"The house to which a bill is returned shall immediately enter the Governor's objections upon its journal. If within 15 calendar days after such entry that house by a record vote of three-fifths of the members elected passes the bill, it shall be delivered immediately to the second house. If within 15 calendar days after such delivery the second house by a record vote of three-fifths of the members elected passes the bill, it shall become law."
Illinois has some of the most challenging requirements for lawmakers to override a governor's veto. Some states allow for a two-thirds or simple majority to support the veto override, but Illinois and some other states require three-fifths of the lawmakers to oppose a veto in order for a bill to become law.

Rauner said the bill is in opposition to federal law. The Chicago Tribune reported Rauner saying that voting applicants are federally required to "attest to meeting the qualifications to vote" or to sign an application. Still, Illinois would have joined five other states that have adopted automatic voter registration policies in the past year and a half.

Of course, federal law didn't stop Rauner from signing a law this year that essentially decriminalized recreational marijuana use, as Inquisitr previously reported.Common Cause Illinois has accused Rauner of simply trying to delay the measure until after the fall 2018 election, because his gubernatorial seat will be at stake during that election. Just Democracy Illinois shared the same sentiments and stated that "the timeline for automatic voter registration should not be pushed back based on political calculations, and we will not accept stall tactics that delay implementation any further."

Just Democracy said the veto of SB 250 is just one of other setbacks for voters in Illinois, according to a report from BGA.

"Between Governor Rauner's veto of Automatic Voter Registration, and the pending lawsuit that seeks to stop Election Day Registration, Illinois is moving away from making the franchise more accessible, and moving toward the sort of tactics that have suppressed the vote in other states across the nation. Now is not the time for Illinois to move backward on voting rights."
A petition on Illinois Common Cause stated that Gov. Rauner's decision to ignore the bipartisan supermajority of Illinois lawmakers will likely prevent up to two million eligible voters from participating in the future elections.

The topic is "berning up" social media newsfeeds now that Bernie Sanders has called upon Illinois lawmakers to come together to override Rauner's veto of the automatic voter registration. Sanders recently pledged to help lead citizens in a fight to regain control of the democratic process through the creation of Our Revolution, which donates no funds to the Democratic Party, nor to Hillary Clinton.

[Image via U.S. National Guard / Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0 | cropped]