Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sen. Wilcox finds latest reports of Automatic Voter Registration glitches 'unfathomable'


By Glenn Minnis | Feb 10, 2020

Illinois state Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry)

Illinois state Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) is among a growing number of Republican lawmakers calling for the suspension of the state’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) program as reports of bugs in the system continue to mount.

“I don’t think it should be operating at this point,” Wilcox told the McHenry Times. “When the Secretary of State’s office is registering people that are not allowed to register and putting them in the position of committing a felony offense by voting illegally, to me that’s unfathomable.”

Wilcox was among 19 GOP lawmakers to recently send a letter to Secretary of State Jesse White requesting that the program be suspended and that a full investigation be launched into how the errors occurred. After initial reports that at least 574 non-citizens were erroneously allowed to register in 2018, with 19 of them actually casting ballots, more recent reports have surfaced that roughly 4,700 16-year-olds were also allowed to start the registration process and that almost 300 people who had opted out of AVR had their information sent to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White | Photo courtesy of Daniel X. O'Neil

The AVR program operates by automatically registering legal residents of voting age when they apply for an Illinois driver’s license or a state ID.

“The House recently had a hearing where we wanted to see what answers the Secretary of State’s office was willing to provide,” Wilcox said. “We want a third-party, independent investigation into how coding for the system was done and the rules that have been coded into the program. I’m convinced that they have fixed coding problems that were identified, but I don’t believe things have been tested to make sure there are no other issues. I think we’ll find more as we move forward.”

Illinois is one of only a handful of states that still allow immigrants who are non-citizens to obtain a driver’s license or state ID.

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Illinois State Senator Craig Wilcox

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