Illinois state Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego)
Illinois state Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) told a panel of state agencies during a House Executive Committee hearing that he appreciated how they addressed a recent error that allowed 574 ineligible residents to be registered to vote through the state's automatic voter registration (AVR) program.
"No one looks forward to these situations, but going after it head-on was important and we thank you for that," Wheeler said. "Much of this has to do with the glitch. We have to figure out what happened when a glitch happens and make sure it doesn’t happen again. You’ve set out to make a substantial change."
The Illinois Secretary of State's Office senior legal advisor Nathan Maddox told the committee that his office would continue to look into the issue to ensure it does not occur again.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D-Chicago)
"If it turns out we need more training, we certainly will give more training," Maddox said.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D-Chicago) said that the error was found and fixed on the same day.
"There is no need to be discouraged by these efforts," White said. "There were 574 [individuals] affected by this error. We have zero tolerance when it comes to this. This was an error. No one did this on purpose to 'cook the books.'"
Maddox cited a line of code as the reason for the mistake, for which there is now a fix in place.
"This was a serious error and we take responsibility for it," Maddox said. "We were mortified when we heard about this. This is very serious, but it was 574 out of 16,000."
Wheeler said that to realize White's promise of zero tolerance, a massive preparation would have to be undertaken to understand every possibility that exists.
"The system needs to be able to understand all scenarios properly – before it goes live," Wheeler said. "We want everyone who is eligible to be able to vote and this situation should have been anticipated. We have to make sure this cannot happen and it did. There was a flaw in the testing approach. In my experience, testing takes considerable time – more than coding usually does. Not doing thorough testing can have serious repercussions and would get us back where we started in the first place."