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Voter rights, crime victim rights amendments set for fall ballot so far

10 months, 3 weeks ago Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau

The Illinois Senate approved the two amendments Thursday

From Doug Finke, State Capitol Bureau :
At least two proposed changes to the Illinois Constitution will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot, including one to prevent voter-suppression laws.
The Illinois Senate approved the two amendments Thursday. The House previously OK’d them, meaning they will be before voters in the fall. Gov. Pat Quinn does not have to sign them.
On a 52-0 vote, the Senate approved an amendment that is aimed squarely at preventing the state from enacting laws that Democrats have argued are intended to suppress voter participation by minorities, the poor and the elderly. Those laws are intended to cut into Democratic voter strength, they’ve said.
Specifically, the proposed amendment says “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.”
“We’ve heard the stories from around the nation of states implementing laws specifically to limit the right to vote,” said Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago. “This is definitely intended to discourage voter ID laws because of their disparate impact.”
Statistics have shown the poor, elderly and minority voters are less likely to have the photo IDs needed in some states in order to vote.
“In the county where I reside, we’ve had issues,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon. “If a (photo ID) is not available, we should make it available. I firmly believe we should have a voter ID law that does not discriminate.”
McCarter did not vote on the amendment.
However, Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, supported it.
“If we can send a message and make clear that no matter what your surname is, if you have earned that right to vote, nothing will be done to impede it,” he said. “You will not find a Republican who disputes that notion.”
Senators also voted 59-0 to put an improved crime victims’ rights amendment on the ballot. The state Constitution already has a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that was adopted in 1992.

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