Illinois’ leading Democrats are now on board supporting a bill for automatic voter registration, saying it'll increase voter participation, but opponents say the measure won’t increase voter turnout. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, along with voter advocacy groups, came together Friday in Chicago to support State Senator Andy Manar’s Senate Bill 2134. Manar said his bill should be a no brainer for his colleagues in Springfield, because it will increase the electorate. “This shouldn’t be a partisan discussion,” Manar said Friday. “Opening up the ballot box to voters should not take a partisan tone in Springfield. Because ultimately the more people we have participating in democracy the better off we’re going to be.”
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While the supporters look to increase voter turnout, Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Hans Von Spakovsky argues increasing voter registration won’t increase voter participation. “Remember we passed the motor-voter law in 1993 based on that presumption,” Spakovsky said. “But turnout did not go up after motor-voter simplified the registration process.” Spakovsky adds that those who chose not to vote did so because of either they weren't interested In the election, didn't support the candidate, or thought they'd make a difference. Senator Manar is hopeful the legislation will be debated in Springfield sometime this spring.