It is time for the local elections coming soon, and it is time for local Illinoisans to register for voting once again and then to hit the polls! There are many ways people may register for voting.
The first and easiest way is to register online. Illinois offers online voter registration! One would need an Illinois ID to use Illinois’s online voter registration system. People may register online until Oct. 21. If they don’t have an Illinois ID though, one can still register to vote by mail.
One can register to vote by regular mail in Illinois by printing a copy of the National Voter Registration Form, filling it out, and mailing it to the local election office. If someone doesn’t have a driver’s license, then the last four digits of their Social Security number will be required. If they have neither, they should write “NONE” on the form. A unique identifier will be assigned to this person by the State. The form must be postmarked by Tuesday, October 9. A signature will be required. If a signature is missing from the registration form, the person will be notified that their registration is incomplete.
People may also register to vote in person if they prefer. Possible places to register to vote in-person include but are not limited to local libraries, Village Hall’s, City Hall’s, County Clerk’s offices, and Village or City Clerk’s offices as well as here on campus, or any Lewis and Clark Campus. Public Law 105-244, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, requires institutions of higher education to provide students the opportunity to register to vote.
People may request a voter registration form in the Enrollment Center or the Community Education Centers. The form has all the information necessary to register a person to vote in the county where they reside. Terry Lane, Director of Career and Veteran Services is available to help students register at any time. Lane will also be working in collaboration with the Urban League, Oct. 10 here on campus, to help students with registration. Contact Lane as soon as humanly possible to avoid missing an opportunity, by calling at 618-468-5500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to register to vote in person is Nov 6.
Although the ballot will already be prepared for people to vote for the specific candidates from their districts, when they vote at the poll, prior to that, it is important for the locals to find out which districts they’ll be voting in, as well as the candidates running there, and where to vote. This process can feel very difficult.
“Your voter registration card lists your township, precinct number and location of your polling place. If you need assistance determining your polling place, we have developed an online polling place lookup to help you determine where to vote”, from www.co.madison.il.us “You can search for your polling place by your address or precinct number. Directions as well as maps to your polling place are available.”
https://www.elections.il.gov/VotingInformation can also be useful in locating the closest polling place for people who haven’t voted in some time and wish to change that this year.
Anyone interested in candidate information including which candidates are running in specific districts and which office or positions, party affiliation, bio information, links to the candidate’s websites, and campaign contribution information have many resources to choose from. www.elections.il.gov/infoforcandiates is a very resourceful tool for candidate research, as well as https://ballotpedia.org/.
https://www.co.madison.il.us/ also provides a copy of a sample ballot online and the website of municipalities will most likely offer something similar. A visit to the Clerk’s office should make it possible to obtain a hard copy.
There are also different methods of voting for those who are registered to vote. Registered voters must bring two forms of identification, with one of them containing their current address: Illinois driver’s license, state ID card, Employee ID, student ID, Credit card, Social Security card, Birth certificate, Utility bill in the voter’s name, Mail postmarked to the voter, or a valid U.S. passport.
At the polling place, the potential voter should sign an application for a ballot. A judge of election will determine the ballot on which they are qualified to vote and, after initiating it, will give it to them and direct them to a voting booth. There will be someone available to assist them further in the process if they are unsure how to fill out a ballot. They may not remain in the polling place longer than required to vote. However, they are well within their rights to review the posted specimen ballot and to ask the judges of the election for a demonstration of the equipment. Voters should never be hesitant to ask questions.
Voting by mail is an option for voters to cast their ballot prior to election day. Voters can request a vote by mail ballot through the mail or in person. The first day to file an application for a vote by mail ballot with the Election Authority was Aug. 8 of this year. All requests by mail must be received by the Election Authority by Nov. 1 of this year. All in-person early voting requests must be made by Nov. 5. The application for a voting by mail ballot must be sent to the election authority for the jurisdiction in which they are registered.
A visit to https://www.elections.il.gov/votinginformation will provide a downloadable copy of the application, and people may also obtain a hard copy with a visit to their Clerk’s office. Registered voters may cast a ballot prior to Election Day without having to provide a reason for wanting to vote early. This ballot is cast by personal appearance at the office of the election authority or at an Early Voting Center. A major reason for early voting is to encourage greater participation in the election process.
It is very important for people to research their candidates’ political agenda and party affiliations. Researching campaign finance contributions can also give voters a good idea of who supports a particular candidate and to what dollar amount. What policies do these candidates want to change? What is their political stance on issues that they find most important? Is it an incumbent candidate who has continuously failed to follow through on promises to constituents, or do they have a record of reliability and constituent loyalty? Speaking with a political science professor might bring the advice or counsel one may be looking for.
A Philosophy on the Importance of Voting for young people from Professor of Political Science, Mario Love, states “Indeed as suggested, these midterms are more than a referendum on a President. For young people making college more affordable should be on top of their agenda. I feel that on some level because of the low turnout numbers for young people, such issues or others relevant to them are seldom discussed. As we have seen older demographics can shape policy based on the fact that their numbers during the Mid-term or General are higher. I find it fascinating that since the 1960’s the politics of youth as a social force has given way to political apathy.”