Nearly 187,000 people were registered to vote since July 1 through the state’s automatic voter registration system, the state Board of Elections said in a recent report to the Illinois General Assembly. Despite that, a group of voting rights advocates said Secretary of State Jesse White has been slow in implementing the law and that it is violating both state and federal voter registration laws. … “Automatic voter registration is up and running and it’s going very well,” said White spokesman Henry Haupt. Not so, says Just Democracy, a coalition of organizations that advocate for voting rights, including Common Cause, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and CHANGE Illinois.
The group sent a letter to White’s office outlining ways it said White’s office has failed to properly implement automatic voter registration and gave his office 90 days to fix the problems. The letter said the groups are “prepared to move forward with litigation to protect the rights of Illinois voters” should a resolution not be reached.
Ami Gandhi of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, said registration rates for whites is “noticeably greater” than it is for minority populations and that the disparity is even greater in Illinois than other states.