With early and absentee voting set to start on February 6, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), and Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), Mike Murphy (R-Springfield), Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) are demanding accountability and immediate action to preserve the integrity of the March 17 primary election.
On December 18, 2019, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office notified the State Board of Elections that a “programming error” led to well over 500 non-citizens being registered to vote over a 17-month period. The letter was not made public until last week.
“I am disappointed to see a program with such good intentions be so poorly administered,” said Congressman Rodney Davis, Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration, which has oversight authority of federal elections. “Automatic Voter Registration has the potential to encourage more voter participation, but as we’ve seen, if it’s not carefully administered, it can have major consequences on the integrity of our elections. This egregious error further highlights the need for states to regularly update their registration rolls and how H.R. 1, which federally mandates processes like Automatic Voter Registration for every state, can have serious issues for states with even less infrastructure than Illinois. I’m planning to convene a listening session through the Committee on House Administration where I hope to hear from the Secretary of State about how he intends to solve this error and reassure Illinois voters that non-citizens are not being registered to vote.”
Upon learning of the error, Assistant Republican Leader Tim Butler and other House Republicans who serve on the House Executive Committee sent a letter to Speaker Mike Madigan asking for an immediate hearing of the House Executive Committee to investigate the situation and hear testimony directly from those involved with the improper implementation of Illinois’ automatic voter registration law.
“This is an egregious mistake,” said Butler. “The right to vote is our most important right as Americans and protecting the integrity of the voting process is vital to preserving its value and credibility, particularly with the threat of foreign meddling that exists today. Considering that the non-citizens who were improperly registered did the right thing by self-identifying themselves, we need clear answers about how this failure happened and definitive solutions to prevent it from ever happening again.”
According to the State Board of Elections, during the 17-month period when non-eligible voters were added to the rolls, 19 ballots were cast by the individuals registered in error.
“Unfortunately, Illinoisans already have reason to be concerned about the integrity of our elections and this failure justifiably adds fuel to the fire,” said State Representative Mike Murphy. “State government must do better to effectively protect and manage the voting rights of citizens and this has to be dealt with immediately.”
“Democrats have said election security is a major concern, yet when there are real instances of non-citizens voting, House Democrat leadership is silent,” said Assistant Republican Leader Avery Bourne. “This is a major problem that needs to be resolved immediately. The Automatic Voter Registration program should be suspended until comprehensive reforms and safeguards are put in place, even if it requires action by the General Assembly. Our constituents deserve to know that we are doing everything we can to protect the integrity of our elections.”