State Watch

Technical glitch results in hundreds of invalid voter registrations in Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White sent a letter this week saying a "programming error" led to more than 500 non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters.

The glitch was fixed Tuesday, but state lawmakers and election authorities are just beginning to raise concerns over the integrity of some state elections. 

In 2017, former governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner (R) signed the "Automatic Voter Registration" bill into law, requiring eligible Illinois citizens to be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew a driver's license or ID. Critics say making it easier for people to register to vote could lead to voter fraud from non-citizens. 

It's unclear if any of the non-citizens registered to vote attempted to cast a ballot, and although the non-citizens who were registered to vote did not do so deliberately, the glitch plays directly into talking points surrounding voter registration laws and voter fraud.

"While this represents only 1/10 of one percent, it is still not acceptable and we apologize for the error," White said in a statement obtained by The Hill. "On the same day the programming error was confirmed, it was fixed and won't happen again.

"We quickly notified the Illinois State Board of Elections along with the 574 people impacted - all of whom are in the country legally," he added.

The Illinois State House Republicans said in a tweet that U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) is working with state lawmakers to address the glitch. 

"Republican state lawmakers join U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis to address integrity of Illinois elections given recent news that more than 500 non-citizens registered to vote under auto-voter registration system," the tweet reads.

State lawmakers have called for an investigation into the Secretary of State's office and for a suspension of the auto-registration system.

Updated: 10:02 p.m.

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