FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2017
Rev. Jackson, Civil Rights groups hail signing of AVR bill
Teens targeted for voter fever
CHICAGO – Several Civil Rights groups and elected officials Tuesday joined Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. at a luncheon to celebrate the enactment of the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) law but warned the next challenge is implementation.
The celebration of Gov. Bruce Rainer’s signing of AVR (SB 1933) last Monday, a day before it would have automatically become law, was held at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E. 50th St.
Joining Jackson were Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, Lance Gough, executive director of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners and his director of Communications, Tom Allen, former Ald. Helen Shiller, activists Jane Ramsey, Marilyn Katz, Chicago Women Take Action, William E. McNary, co-director, Citizen Action Illinois, Trevor Gervaise, lead organizer with Common Cause along with staff members, Erin Connelly, Ibie Hart and Erin Connelly, Sharon Fountain, managing editor, Chicago Crusader, Erika Bland-Druosinmi, political director/vice president, SEIU healthcare United for Quality Care, activist Lenimanaa Hoppen Worth Betty Magness, political director for PUSH and many others.
“This is a momentous day,” said Rev. Jackson, who held a question and answer period on the AVR. “This is a big deal.” Referring to pre-trial detainees and college students, Jackson said now with AVR “they are automatically registered to vote.” Rev. Jackson is urging all states to pass AVR bills.
Clerk Brown said the AVR law “will go a long way in helping everyone to exercise their right to vote. Dr. Martin Luther King and those who died for our right to vote and for justice would be very proud today, but we must continue to be diligent to make sure people not only register to vote but that they vote.”
“The AVR is a big step for us,” said Gough. “It will open up the doors for millions of young people and others who just don’t have the time to register or change their address.” Gough said Rauner is the only Republican to have signed an AVR in America.
Besides implementation of the Act, Gough said, “We need to work on the 16 and 17-year olds.to get them in the data base because once they have become of age, they can vote. That is what we will be working on,” said an excited Gough.
Praising PUSH for its long history of voter registration, McNary said with AVR a change is in the air.
“If 18,000 young people every day turn 18, imagine the power that is unleashed if those young people decide to register and vote. You literally change the conversation overnight.”
If that happens, explained McNary, “We stop talking about tax cuts to the wealthy and start talking about healthcare for all. We stop talking about student loan debt and start talking about how these young people can get livable jobs…livable wages of at least $15 an hour. They have the time, the smarts, the energy and they have the respect of their peers.”
McNary said these youth need to know their newfound political power “so they can figure out a way to implement it, mobilize their peers and change the direction of this country.”