Fortner: Let's get automatic voter registration done right in Illinois

Many bills that come before the General Assembly are designed to take a popular idea and apply it to Illinois law. But just because an idea is popular, legislators should not rush to pass the bill. Often there are details worth looking at, details that legislators should get right before jumping onto the popular bandwagon. That’s the case with Senate Bill 250 which would create Automatic Voter Registration in Illinois.

AVR, as proposed in Senate Bill 250, would automatically register voters who interact with any number of state agencies, including people who apply for a driver's license or update their address at a Secretary of State motor vehicle office. Since not everyone may want to be registered, people are given the ability to opt out. However, people who would be registered at the DMV do not get to opt out immediately. Instead, their data is sent on to the State Board of Elections and they are later sent a letter asking them to return a post card if they want to opt out. In the meantime, their data is already in the election system and those people who do not want to be in the system will not get the digital privacy we all deserve. Read the rest of the letter to the editor by Mike Fortner in the SJ-R.