“We do know that some of them voted” in the election, board spokesman Matt Dietrich said in a phone call on Monday afternoon, WCIA reported.
The board said on Tuesday that it confirmed 19 people who aren’t citizens of the United States voted in Illinois in the election.
The illegal votes were spread across seven counties.
Secretary of State Jesse White’s office blamed the registration of hundreds of non-U.S. citizens on a “programming error” in the state’s automatic voter registration process.
Illinois lets legal and illegal immigrants get a driver’s license or state identification and, in some cases, people who obtain such IDs are automatically enrolled as voters.
“For whatever reason that technological programming error did not properly remove the individuals,” Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt said.
“The individuals who are applying for driver’s licenses were inadvertently pooled into the automatic voter registration.”
A spokesman for the office told WGN that none of the non-citizens registered to vote are in the United States illegally.
None of the following offices have issued public press releases on the situation: the secretary of state, State Board of Elections, or the office of Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker.
llinois Secretary of State Jesse White (L) in a file photograph. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Pritzker said at a press conference Tuesday that there would be an investigation.
“Securing our elections, making sure that we are, that everybody knows that our democracy is working properly is a priority of mine,” he said.
It’s illegal for non-citizens to vote. Punishment can include jail time or deportation.
“That’s the law today,” said Pritzker, who campaigned on welcoming immigrants to Illinois.
“The people who voted, who actually voted - the 19 people that have been identified - if they are ineligible to vote, which is what it appears they were, then they may in fact be deported.”
Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker in an Oct. 2018 file photograph. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Just Democracy Illinois, a nonpartisan group that pushes for a modern, secure, and robust democracy, said what happened was “an unconscionable error that puts vulnerable people at terrible personal risk while undermining confidence in our elections process.”
The automatic voter registration, or AVR, wasn’t the problem, the group said. Instead, it blamed the secretary of state’s office.
“The agency’s massively delayed and error-riddled implementation of AVR has undermined the law’s intended purpose to make Illinois voting rolls more fair, accurate, and secure,” it said.
But State Rep. Tim Butler, a Republican, targeted the automatic voter registration, saying: “We were assured by advocates that this would never happen. Yet it did.”
“It is time to revisit the Illinois AVR law,” he said.
Butler and several other House Republicans called for a hearing regarding what happened.
“This is an absurd lack of compliance with state law, surfacing less than three weeks from the opening of early voting for our state’s 2020 general primary election. Given this, we are requesting an immediate hearing of the House Executive Committee to investigate this situation and to hear testimony directly from Secretary of State Jesse White, officials of the State Board of Elections, representatives from our local election authorities, and others concerned with this situation,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter (pdf) to Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“The oversight function of the Legislative Branch regarding this law must be used to hold the Executive Branch accountable for ensuring compliance with state law and to determine if additional legislation is needed to tighten our voter registration laws,” they added.
Tim Schneider, the Illinois GOP chairman, said the AVR should be temporarily suspended until a probe uncovered what went wrong.
State Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat, said that the Senate would hold a hearing to get answers from the secretary of state’s office if needed.
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