Lawmakers Demand Answers on Non-Citizen Voter Registrations

Jan 23, 2020

State Rep. Tim Butler speaks to the media at news conference held at the Statehouse about further investigations into the automatic voter registration.
Credit Olivia Mitchell / NPR Illinois

Both Republicans and Democrats say they want more answers as to why more than 500 non-U.S.citizens were mistakenly added to Illinois voter rolls.

Members of both parties say they take the issue of election security seriously.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Republicans called on Secretary of State Jesse White and the State Board of Elections to explain what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

The problem arose from the state’s automatic voter registration system, known as AVR, used when people apply for driver’s licenses or state ID cards.

State Rep. Tim Butler, a Republican from Springfield, says lawmakers have questions.

“The legislative branch needs to have an oversight responsibility,” Butler said. “We have not had any, as far as I know, any oversight hearings on implementation on AVR, and I think this situation brings to light that we definitely need to do that to make sure the program is run properly.”

The State Board of Elections indicated only 16 of the individuals who were improperly registered actually voted in elections.

The secretary of state’s office says the error has been fixed and will not interfere with the upcoming primary.

Democrats, who control the Illinois House, have announced a hearing next week to get more details.

“In Illinois, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to ensure that all who are legally eligible can exercise their right to vote,” state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat and chairman of the House Executive Committee, said in a statement. “Now we will work together again to ensure the automatic voter registration system is properly implemented.”