SPRINGFIELD – President Obama is urging Illinois lawmakers to approve a bill setting up an automatic voter registration process.
The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar, automatically signs people up to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or identification. The President applauded the measure and endorsed it.
“I think you should pass that legislation right away and I think the governor should sign it without delay,” Obama says. “Let’s make the Land of Lincoln a leader in voter participation – that’s something we should be proud to do.”
The President mentioned Senator Manar’s name, saying his bill should be passed as soon as possible. Manar says it was an honor to be mentioned directly by the President.
“It was cool without a doubt,” Manar says. “But really, I think it is a good piece of public policy. The bill will save the state millions of dollars, it opens up voter rolls to U.S. citizens, and really removes barriers between citizens to the ballot box. That’s something that Republicans and Democrats should be clamoring for – especially in a time when we have such divisive politics right now in Springfield.”
President Obama also made note that this should be something that can be passed with bipartisan support.
“This bill would protect the fundamental right of everybody – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, seniors, folks with disabilities, and the men and women of our military – to make sure that it was easier for them to vote and have their vote counted,” Obama said.
The President went on to thank the Illinois legislature for already passing legislation that lets people register to vote on Election Day along with expanding the time frame for Early Voting. However, he stated that more could be done to simplify the process and get more voters to the polls.