Automatic Voter Registration
Over 45% of Black people in this country are not registered to vote. With huge wins for Automatic Voter Registration in California, West Virginia, Oregon and Vermont, now is the time that we use this momentum to win Automatic Voter Registration in states where Black people have been historically and presently denied the Freedom to Vote-- and make every Black vote count this November.
Break Down the Barriers: Bring Automatic Voter Registration to Illinois!There are several attempts to suppress the voices of people of color not only in the State of Illinois, but across the country. With a great deal of confusion around registration deadlines, application errors, long lines at polling locations, and other structural failures, millions of eligible voters are not making their voices heard in our democratic process. At Chicago Votes, we organized a group of high school students (on their Spring Break) to travel to Springfield to advocate for AVR. They advocated on behalf of their families and communities who have, on multiple occasions, faced difficulties registering to vote. In addition, many of the students were first-time voters in the Illinois primaries, and despite having all of the appropriate identification needed to register, they were faced with long lines, confusion, and a great deal of frustration. After listening to the students share their stories with the elected officials, one student asked me what keeps me coming back to this work after three years. He asked, “Why voter registration?” Kevin, a middle-aged Black man with a felony, keeps me coming back to this work. Kevin, who stated, “My parole officer told me that I cannot register to vote because I have a felony, and if I do it anyways, I will go back to jail” is the reason. Kevin, who didn’t know that his right to vote was restored upon his release from prison, is the reason why I keep coming back to this work. I am aware that Kevin is one of many eligible voters in Illinois who are not voting due to misinformation. He is the father, uncle, or cousin of a high school student somewhere in Illinois who is excited about the potential of voting, but are told they cannot. If we pass AVR, we will raise the voices and open the doors for people of color who want to participate in our political process, but are constantly faced with barriers every election cycle. HB4208 and SB250 is currently gaining traction in the IL General Assembly by moving through committees. Join me in telling our elected officials that democracy works best when all voices are included, and Automatic Voter Registration is a step in the right direction. Let’s ensure that this bill is introduced on the Senate floor by signing this petition and showing your support!3,042 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Chakena Sims