In light of yet another “programming error” related to Illinois’ Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) are calling for a thorough audit and suspension of the system until problems are resolved. The latest problem with the system while on the Secretary of State’s watch has caused more than 1,100 valid voter registrations to be wrongly coded as opting-out instead of being registered.
“It started with non-citizens being registered, then minors being forwarded through the system, and now actual citizens of legal voting age not being registered. How much more evidence do we need that AVR has to be put on hold and a thorough audit conducted?” said Rep. Butler. “These exact concerns were expressed back in 2017 during the discussions of instituting an AVR program in our state and these revelations underscore that those concerns were well-founded. With the primary election happening in a week and the presidential election in November, these egregious mistakes have to be corrected before AVR is allowed to continue.”
Butler, Bourne and House Republicans first called for action at the end of January when the first revelation that 574 self-identified non-citizens were mistakenly registered to vote. U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis joined House Republicans in that call and several public hearings have since been held, but no action to put the AVR program on hold has been taken by the Governor or the Democrat led General Assembly. In February, Butler and Bourne filed House Bill 5224 to suspend the AVR program until the problems with the system are corrected. Now, House Resolution 827 has been filed to call for a thorough audit to be conducted by an outside, independent auditor.
“It has been over a month since I first called for suspension of the Automatic Voter Registration system. With the revelation of this latest error within Illinois’ AVR system, it’s past time for lawmakers to take definitive steps to protect the integrity of our elections,” said Rep. Bourne. “The wrongful rejection of 1,152 valid voter registrations is unacceptable, and the latest in a series of problems that warrant the temporary suspension of AVR until all issues are resolved. Access to fair and free elections is a fundamental right, and there should be zero margin for error. The rollout of AVR has been plagued with problems and it’s time for the General Assembly to intervene.”
Besides the most recent revelation about the improperly coded 1,152 valid voter registrations, the Secretary of State’s Office also forwarded the information of some 4,700 16-year-olds through the AVR system to the State Board of Elections for pre-registration. Fortunately, the Board of Elections rejected most of those before they were registered.