Illinois House candidate Peter Breen (R-Lombard) | http://www.votebreen.com/
Illinois House candidate Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is not altogether shocked that the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) program overseen by the Secretary of State’s office is mired in controversy over mistakenly registering nearly 600 non-citizens.
“Anytime you have power at stake, there are going to be people who want to abuse the process to attain that power,” Breen told Prairie State Wire. “We’ve opened up a door for people of bad intent to do harm to our election.”
Several media outlets have reported that at least 574 non-citizens were erroneously allowed to register through the AVR program, which automatically registers citizens any time they apply for a new Illinois driver’s license or state ID card. Of that number, the Illinois Board of Elections has confirmed at least 19 of those non-citizens actually cast votes in 2018 elections.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White | Photo courtesy of Daniel X. O'Neil
“Certainly, you want to make it convenient for folks to vote,” said Breen, a former state representative who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Terra Costa-Howard (D-Glen Ellyn) in a 48th District rematch in November. “But you don’t want to be forcing people to register when they’re not interested in voting. This is a law that automatically registers people, some of whom have shown no interest. When you put those two principles together you can see how there could be room for chaos.”
While Breen stresses that he does not believe that outright fraud was behind the error, he cautions that the potential for voter fraud is always a concern.
“Measures like [AVR] can certainly open us up for more potential fraud,” Breen said. “And we’ve seen how any small level of fraud can lead to big differences at the ballot box. We need to be doing everything we can to make sure we’re safeguarding the integrity of the vote.”