Durbin Joins Bill To Increase Voter Participation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), introduced legislation to modernize the nation’s voter registration systems and make it easier for all Americans to vote and participate in our democracy.  The Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017 would streamline the voter registration process, allow citizens to register online, and require states to automatically register eligible voters when they apply for a driver's license, change their address after moving, or interact with certain other state and federal agencies, unless those people opt out.  It also includes important privacy protections, and makes it clear that the information used to automatically register voters will remain secure.

“Automatic voter registration will allow more Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote and participate in the political process.  Government impacts the lives of every person in our country, and every American eligible to vote should have a say in its direction,” Durbin said.

Eight states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia – have approved automatic voter registration programs.  A report by the Brennan Center estimated that automatic voter registration could add 50 million eligible voters to the rolls.

Recently, both the Illinois House and Senate unanimously passed legislation to automatically register qualified voters when they visit Secretary of State's offices and several other state agencies unless they opt out.  A previous version passed both chambers last fall, but Gov. Rauner vetoed it.

The Automatic Voter Registration Act has the support of leading civil rights organizations, including the Brennan Center for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the League of Women Voters, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Text of the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017 can be found here, and a fact sheet about automatic voter registration from the Brennan Center can be found here