Batinick: Voter ID controversy no big deal in Kendall County
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) believes the controversy over voter ID is no big deal in Kendall County but a civil rights group's letter to a county official earlier this week that suggested otherwise probably did some good.
"In the end, the press coverage of the incident likely educated residents more than they would have been otherwise,” Batinick told the Kendall County Times.
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois attorney Amy Meek sent a letter to Kendall County Clerk and Recorder Debbie Gillette stating that county voters face "misleading and confusing instructions" about voter identification information produced by Gillette's office.
Gillette, the day after the ACLU issued its letter Tuesday, said that recent election cycles show that Kendall County voters "have not been depressed, suppressed or disenfranchised" and that turn out has increased.
The ACLU later announced that Gillette had agreed to "correct" the information the organization found objectionable. Gillette's decision was appropriate, Batinick said, adding that he didn't believe Gillette "meant anything nefarious" in the original voter information provided by her office.
"They [the ACLU] contacted the Clerk," he said. "She made a clarification."
Gillette, a Bristol Republican, faces Democrat challenger Andrew Torres of Oswego in the November election.
The debate over voter identification is controversial in other areas but not in Kendall County, Batinick said.
"Frankly, I just have never met anyone in my district that doesn't have an ID anyway," he said. "I always present my ID when voting simply to make the election judge's job easier and help move the line."
However, the ACLU was not out of line in its letter the Kendall County Clerk and Recorder, he said.
"The ACLU is correct that an ID is not required," Batinick said. "It may be an issue in other parts of the state and country, and the ACLU is looking at this from a different perspective.”
Batinick was first elected to the Illinois 97th House District in 2014 after he defeated Democrat Moira K. Dunn, taking more than 56 percent of the vote.
Batinick was unopposed when he ran for re-election in 2016 and again during the Republican primary this past March. He faces Democrat Mica Freeman in November's general election.
The Illinois 97th District is located within Kendall and Will counties and included Plainfield and Shorewood.