Orr announces Election Protection plan

October 4, 2004
Press Release

Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office is launching a new voter education campaign aimed at protecting voter rights and minimizing Election Day problems heading into the Nov. 2 presidential election.

Orr, whose office administers elections in suburban Cook County, is encouraging voters to do three things before heading to the polls: 1) verify their voter registration; 2) confirm their polling place address; and 3) make sure they know how to vote.

Voters can perform these tasks on the Clerk’s interactive election website – www.voterinfonet.com – or by calling (312) 603-0906. Voters only have to enter basic information to confirm their registration and locate their polling place.

“We want voters to be pro-active,” Orr said. “If they discover a problem, we can help them solve it before Election Day. If voters take just a few minutes to verify their information and learn how to cast an error-free ballot, polling place operations will run more smoothly, every vote will count and we can limit confusion and errors.”

The Clerk’s office is distributing some 50,000 Election Protection cards to individual voters and various voting, business, religious, community, civic and political groups. A printable copy of the card is available here online:

The card – which is available in English, Spanish and Chinese – details how voters can check their registration status and receive their polling place location. It also includes how-to-vote instructions so voters can learn how to correctly cast their ballot.

By taking these steps, voters can eliminate Election Day surprises, such as finding that a completed registration application never made it to the Clerk’s office for processing, or that a park district building that once served as a polling place is under construction and the polling site had to be moved to a new location.

Verifying polling sites is important because the state’s new provisional voting law provides that provisional ballots be counted only if cast in the correct precinct. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established provisional voting as a safeguard for voters whose registration is in question on Election Day.

“Voters cannot merely vote a provisional ballot and expect it to be counted,” said Orr, noting that election judges are undergoing special training this fall to assist voters who end up at the wrong polling place. “The law makes it essential that voters cast their ballots in the correct precinct and polling place.”

*The website and hotline information pertains only to suburban Cook County voters. Chicago voters can contact the Chicago Board of Elections (312) 269-7900 or www.chicagoelections.com.