In the wake of the recent tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., Oak Park has an opportunity to be a model of civility in the debate and discourse leading to local elections in April. I would urge all local citizens to take the time to meet the candidates, investigate the issues and be informed voters. The tenor of your discussion of important local issues facing the community can help to elevate the level of civic engagement.

Municipal elections will be held on Tuesday, April 5, for local governmental bodies, including three village trustees and members of the park board, library board, District 200 high school board and District 97 elementary school board. A bond-sale referendum sponsored by District 97 and an energy aggregation referendum from the Village of Oak Park will also be on the ballot. Voting in local elections has traditionally been low, but these are important elections affecting the future of local institutions and deserving your attention. Take the time to learn about the candidates and issues for this election. Local groups, including the League of Women Voters, will host events where you can hear the candidates speak and talk with them about your concerns.

In order to be eligible to vote in the upcoming April 5 election you must be registered to vote at your current address. If you are not registered at your current address, now is the time to update your registration so that you can participate in April. If you are a new voter who will be 18 by April 5, you may register now for the election. The last day to register to vote or to change the current address on your voter registration card is Tuesday, March 8. Voter registration is available at village hall or the township office, and through the League of Women Voters on the weekend of Feb. 26.

If registering to vote in person, you must display two pieces of identification. Neither needs to be a photo ID, but one must include your current address. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Illinois driver’s license
  • Illinois state ID
  • Employee or student ID
  • Credit card
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Utility bill in applicant’s name
  • Mail postmarked to applicant
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Lease or rental contract

Early voting will be available at village hall as of March 14 for those who prefer to vote early. Students away at college and others who will be away on Election Day may request an absentee ballot. For more information about voter registration and the upcoming election, see also the County Clerk’s website at Normal business hours for the village clerk’s office are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information about the election process, call 708-358-5670 or e-mail

Teresa Powell has served as village clerk in Oak Park since 2009.

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