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With one month to go before registration closes, Cook County Clerk David Orr reminds Illinois residents who want to vote in the November 2 presidential election to register before the October 5 deadline.
“Registering to vote gives you the power to make a difference in deciding who will be elected to office,” Orr says. “We all have busy schedules, but with more venues offering different ways to sign up, registering to vote has never been easier or more convenient.”
Orr reminds voters who have recently moved to re-register at their current address. A voter who has changed his or her name must also re-register.
The Clerk’s office will send a voter identification card to each voter after the applications are processed. The card lists each voter’s precinct information and voting districts.
Voter registration applications are available from the Clerk’s office. To receive one, individuals living in suburban Cook County can:
Print an application form by visiting www.voterinfonet.com.
Call the Clerk’s office at (312) 603-0906 and request that the office send an application in the mail.
Visit their local village or township hall, the Clerk’s downtown Chicago office (69 W. Washington St., Suite 500), or one of the Clerk’s satellite offices located in suburban courthouses.
After completing the application, prospective voters should return it to the Cook County Clerk’s office at 69 W. Washington St., Room 500, Chicago, IL 60602. All applications must be delivered or postmarked by October 5.
Events and Programs
Before every election, the Clerk’s office and the Chicago Board of Elections sponsor a last-chance voter drive (Grocery Day) on the Saturday before the close of registration. Representatives from both election authorities will conduct voter registration at Jewel and Dominick’s grocery stores in Chicago and suburban Cook County from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 2.
The Clerk’s office also trains volunteer deputy registrars sponsored by specific groups and organizations to register people to vote. Call (312) 603-0992 or visit www.voterinfonet.com for more information.
Since 1991, the Clerk’s office has been training 18-year-olds in how to register individuals to vote as part of its First Voter program. As a result, more than 4,000 young adults have been trained as deputy registrars and nearly 50,000 new voters have been added to the county’s voting rolls.
The Clerk’s office also works with Chicago-area colleges and universities to make registration and election information available to voting-age students living away from home. Call (312) 603-0930 or visit voterinfonet.com for more information.
Eligibility and New Requirements
To qualify to vote, an individual must be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day (November 2); and a resident of the same voting precinct at least 30 days prior to the election.
On Election Day, some Illinois voters will have to show identification at the polls. According to the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), election officials must verify the identity of first-time voters who registered by mail after January 1, 2003. New voters can satisfy the requirement one of three ways:
Provide an Illinois driver’s license number on their registration application form.
Submit a copy of identification (see below) to the Clerk’s office with their application, or sometime before Election Day.
Show identification at the polling place on Election Day.
Acceptable forms of identification include a copy of a current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and current address.
HAVA also requires that applicants confirm they are U.S. citizens by checking a box on the registration application.
In addition, anyone who signs up to vote by mailing a registration form must vote in person the first time they vote. State law prohibits first-time voters who register by mail from casting a mail-in absentee ballot. However, you may be eligible to cast an in-person absentee ballot before Election Day. Visit www.voterinfonet.com or call (312) 603-0906 for more details.
For more election information, suburban Cook County residents can contact the Cook County Clerk’s office by visiting www.voterinfonet.com or calling (312) 603-0906. Chicago residents should contact the Chicago Board of Elections by visiting www.chicagoelections.com or calling (312) 269-7900.