Illinois agency worried about automatic voter registration

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Illinois election officials are worried about a new bill gaining traction in the statehouse.
 
It’s a bill that would automatically sign up people to register to vote. The State Board of Elections says they have doubts they’ll be able to afford the new technology. 
 
“The state board of elections has to invest in a whole new operating system and a large one for a large diverse state,” said Don Gray, Sangamon County Clerk. 
 
The State Board of Elections says if automatic voter registration becomes law, they fear they won’t be up to speed with the new technology by September.
 
“I understand the concerns there’s a lot more burden on the state board of elections then there is here and the election authority to be able to implement election day and registration day maintenance,” said Gray.
 
The board would have to go through a years worth of voter information to update their records. Which they think is a lot of work to do. However bill sponsor Sen. Andy Manar (D) Decatur says the benefits overcome the costs.

“There will be a cost associated with it but once that’s done we will we will have a system that’s very efficient that improves turnout and that will improve accuracy on elections,” Manar said.

Estimates vary but supports say there’s a potential of 2 million new Illinois voters to be registered.

“We can get more individuals into the system we would enjoy and provide for great services for them,” said Gray.

Besides costs election board officials say they have logistics concerns, there’s no program in the works.

“I do sympathize with the notion that it’s going to be costly for them to acquire the necessary software to be effective,” said Gray.

The automatic registration bill passed the senate and will be up for discussion in the house this week.

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