Are you prepared for the Nov. 8 election? Have you registered to vote at your current address? Do you know who is on the ballot (beyond the presidential vote?) Would you like to vote from home or will you be away? Do you know the dates, locations and times of early voting? Would you like to be able to follow the returns live on election night?
If any of these questions intrigue you, keep reading!
First, register online if you have an Illinois ID or driver’s license at https://ova.elections.il.gov/ or in person at the village, township or library if you have moved since you last registered.
You can prepare now to be an informed voter, not only in the presidential race, but also in the “down-ballot” races — where many people discover for the first time, as they stare at the election screen, who is running for what. Go to www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections and choose “Your Voter Information” on the left sidebar. Enter your name and street address to confirm your registration, find your polling place and on tabs above the map, select and print a sample ballot which you can use when you are voting.
Highlighted names on the sample ballot have a candidate statement you can link to. And for the judicial elections the Chicago regional bar associations prepare a non-partisan summary of their recommendations for judges, so you can print and use this information (www.voteforjudges.org) to help you vote for these candidates.
We host an early voting site for Cook County at Oak Park Village Hall seven days a week starting October 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and 9-3 on Sunday through Nov. 7. This is touchscreen only, so if you prefer a paper ballot, see below. Early voting lines will increase as the election approaches, so the village has increased the number of touchscreens for early voting to minimize lines, which are smallest in the first week of early voting.
Paper ballots are available on Election Day along with touchscreens at your regular polling place.
Another option for those who want a paper ballot or who don’t want to wait in line is “Vote by Mail.” You can request an absentee ballot now if you prefer to vote from home (or are away at school). Go to www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections and choose “Vote by Mail” on the left sidebar. Complete the request online or print and mail a form to get your ballot.
For other questions about voting and elections, contact the Cook County Clerk at 312-603-0906 or my office at 708-358-5670.
Teresa Powell is the village clerk of Oak Park.