Illinois Right to Vote Amendment (2014)

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Right to Vote Amendment
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Illinois Constitution
Referred by:Illinois General Assembly
Topic:Suffrage on the ballot
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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November 4
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Local measures

The Illinois Right to Vote Amendment is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Illinois as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would provide that no person shall be denied the right to register to vote or cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, language, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or income.[1]

Proponents and opponents have suggested that the amendment is meant, in part, to discourage a voter identification card law.[2]

Background

As this measure is attempting to deter a voter identification card law, it is worthwhile to consider the current identity requirements for voting in Illinois. Illinois election laws requires two forms of identification to register to vote in person, one of which must include the current residence address of the voter. Registration by mail only requires the submission of a driver's license or state identification card number.[3] The state does not currently have any documentation requirements when casting votes.[4]

Thirty-one states have voter identification laws in force, as of May 8, 2014. While widely required, such laws have been contested across the country. In 2014, both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had voter identification laws overturned by the courts, while the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed a ruling that overturned that state's law. The remaining states have other methods for verifying voters, such as signing affidavits or requiring voters to provide biographical information.[4][5]

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The ballot language appears as follows:[6]

The proposed amendment adds a new section to the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would prohibit any law that disproportionately affects the rights of eligible Illinois citizens to register to vote or cast a ballot based on the voter’s race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.

YES

NO [7]

Constitutional changes

The proposed amendment would add a Section 8 to Article III of the Constitution of Illinois:[1]

SECTION 8. VOTER DISCRIMINATION

No person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income.

Support

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-22), who was the amendment's primary sponsor, said, "The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that all citizens have an opportunity to register and vote and to prevent the passage of inappropriate voter-suppression laws and discriminatory voting procedures."[8]

Supporters

Officials

The following elected officials sponsored the amendment in the legislature:[9]

Other elected officials who support the amendment are:

Arguments

  • House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-82) called on Republicans to support the amendment. He said, "[The state party] had an identity crisis for many years now. Republicans, we're going to win with addition. We need to dispel some of the notions that have been hanging over the GOP for years, that we're a party of white suburban men. For me this was an easy decision."[10]
  • Steve Brown, Sen. Madian's press secretary, said the measure is a response to the growing voter restriction across the country. He stated his opinion that those restrictions are actually voter suppression, saying, "When that right to vote is abridged by a whole bunch of different requirements, or cutting back on early-voting periods, or having all kinds of complicated rules about registration, or identification cards, [then] you know that’s just an effort to suppress the vote.”[11]

Opposition

Opponents

Officials

The following elected officials voted against the amendment in the legislature:[12]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Illinois Constitution

The Illinois General Assembly was required to pass the amendment by a 60% majority vote in both chambers in order to place the amendment on the ballot. HJRCA 52 was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives on April 8, 2014. The amendment was approved by the Illinois Senate on April 10, 2014.[12]

House vote

April 8, 2014 House vote

Illinois HJRCA 52 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 109 95.61%
No54.39%

Senate vote

April 10, 2014 Senate vote

Illinois HJRCA 52 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 52 100.00%
No00.00%

See also

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