An Illinois lawmaker is speaking out against a bill that proposes automatic voter registration in the state.
Under a proposal being considering the state senate, a person would be registered to vote automatically when they get a driver’s license or state identification card, unless the person chooses not to register.
Republican State Senator Kyle McCarter said he worries the bill, as drafted, would lead to voter fraud.
“Driver’s licenses are available to many who are not eligible to vote and that poses a problem. In fact, Illinois law allows non-citizens to get a driver’s license in certain circumstances,” McCarter said.
Meanwhile, many backers of the bill say it’s all about streamlining the voting process.
“Five years after the Voting Rights act and we’re still fighting for the most foundational of all American rights, access to the voting booth,” the Illinois Watchdog quotes Director of Elections Noah Praetz as saying.
McCarter argues that’s not true.
“Illinois has online voter registration and in 2016 will have election day voter registration. Registering to vote is relatively easy in Illinois, but it still takes a minimal amount of effort,” he said. “That effort is required in order to ensure that only those who are eligible to vote are registered.”
Aside from concerns over fraud, opponents of automatic voter registration argue it infringes on a basic right of U.S. citizen.
Hans A. von Spakovsky is an attorney specializing in election law reform, civil rights and the First Amendment at the Heritage Foundation. In a 2013 publication, he made a case against mandatory registration.
“Automatically registering individuals to vote without their permission would also violate their basic right to choose whether they wish to participate in the U.S. political process," he wrote. "Indeed, this new scheme threatens one of America’s most cherished liberties: the freedom to be left alone by the government.”
No one spoke in opposition to the bill at a senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday in Chicago, according to the Illinois Watchdog.