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Automatic voter registration vital to democracy

Chicago residents cast their votes in February 2015. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

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We were happy to see that the Sun-Times recently wrote a favorable editorial on automatic voter registration (AVR). It’s time we modernize our election systems for the digital age and make it easier to vote (“How to clean up up Illinois voter rolls and expand democracy” — March 29).

AVR is as common sense as it sounds. It saves us, the voters, time and saves our cash-strapped state money. The next time you move and have to update your address with the DMV or another state agency, your voter registration card would automatically be updated without extra work on your part. For the state of Illinois, AVR would mean that less money would be spent by the Illinois government processing the large influx of registrations that come right before Election Day. With an automated system, additional staff time (and our tax dollars) would not have to be spent rummaging through the voter rolls to cross out voters who have moved away.

Voting is a constitutional right. For too long we’ve allowed roadblocks to stand in the way of ensuring all eligible citizens can exercise their right to vote. It’s time for the Illinois government to enact AVR into law.

Ra Joy and Andy Kang, co-chairs, Just Democracy Coalition, Bronzeville and South Loop

SEND LETTERS TO: Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

No beef with United

The man in question should have obeyed the security officers no matter what (Black eye for United, Chicago after apologies for bloodying doc — April 12). Then take it up with United Airlines his lawyers and the public. The typical modern liberal outlook makes this man the victim and the big bad corporations once again the villains. They did not drag him out of his house. They dragged him out of their flying bus as the security threat that he was. The incident was unfortunate but the man acted completely irresponsibly and contrary to what I want in a safe airport.

John Loftus, Edgewater

Elected officials play with our lives

Last week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would release desperately needed funds for social services and higher education in Illinois. Not a single Republican member of the House voted for it, and it is opposed by Governor Rauner. The more than $800 million dollars the legislation would make available is money the state has already collected that is sitting in funds dedicated to social services and higher education. Rauner and House Republicans don’t deny that cuts to social services have affected thousands of Illinois families, putting the lives, health, and well-being of many of our citizens at risk every day. They don’t deny that higher education in our state is facing a crisis; that state universities are cutting programs, laying off and furloughing faculty and staff, losing students to schools in other states, and keeping talented students out of school because of a lack of need-based aid for students and their families.

So what is the rationale for these Republicans opposing this necessary legislation? The answer is politics, politics of the most pure, naked, and ugly variety. House Republicans say they want to keep the “pressure” on so that a full-year budget is more quickly agreed to, despite the hardship caused to so many in the interim. The governor says he might support the bill but only if it is linked to one or more of his many dearly-loved agenda items. Politics in Illinois, now more than ever before, is deadly, metaphorically so for higher education and literally so for some of those dependent on social services that are no longer funded. We must realize that our elected officials are playing with life and death and we must hold them to account.

James Patrick O’Connor, Evanston

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