According to media reports, more than 500 people who are not citizens and are not legally eligible to vote in elections, were registered to vote through the state’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, which was signed into law in 2017.
The AVR system automatically registers voters when they apply for a driver’s license or state ID card, unless the individual opts out of the process. Between July 2, 2018, and December 13, 2019, the registration information of 574 people was “improperly forwarded” to the Illinois State Board of Elections, according to a December 18, 2019 letter from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to the elections board.
The 574 individuals had all checked a “no” box on a question asking if they were US citizens. According to the Secretary of State’s office, the issue was due to a “programming error” involved with the registration process. The Illinois State Board of Elections has notified the local election authorities where the individuals reside, and has sent letters to the individuals themselves. Of the improperly registered voters, 126 live in Chicago, 135 in other parts of Cook County, 56 in DuPage County, 54 in Lake County, 1 in Christian County, and 1 in Sangamon County.
All 19 Republican members of the Illinois Senate sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s office seeking further information about the issue. The request included information on which locations erroneously registered voters, what investigatory steps would be taken and what would be done to prevent situations like this in the future.
“It is imperative the residents of Illinois know their elections are being managed and conducted in a lawful manner, and ensuring our laws are being implemented correctly is a practical matter, not a partisan one,” the letter stated.
Since being signed into law in August of 2017, the Illinois AVR system has so far registered more than 600,000 individuals to vote.