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Ask Chicagoist: When and Where Do I Go To Vote Early?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Oct 8, 2008 5:30PM

2008_10_askvote.jpgDear Ask Chicagoist,

I just read that Illinois allows voters to avoid the lines on election day by using "no-excuse" early at-location voting. The statute says:

"During each general primary and general election, each board of election commissioners established under Article 6 of this Code in any city, village, or incorporated town with a population over 100,000 shall establish at least 2 polling places for early voting by personal appearance." [You can read more about this in the Illinois Election Code.]

My question is: Where will our weekend polling places be? I'd like to get my civic duties out of the way on a non-work day :-)

Dear Early Voter,

Really? We always like taking time away from work to exercise our civic duties. We also really like voting on the actual Election Day for some reason, but we suppose we just get caught up in the excitement of it all, lines and voting irregularities be damned. This makes perfect sense though -- personal preference aside, anything that makes it convenient for more people to actually get out and vote we think is a no-brainer.

Here in the great state of Illinois, voters have two options for voting early. Citizens can vote via absentee ballot if they expect to be "absent from their county of residence on Election Day" (or for any other number of more specific listed reasons that all basically all boil down to being "absent from their county of residence on Election Day" ). We can also, as stated above, saunter confidently into an early-voting polling place and cast our ballots before Election Day. No excuses needed.

For the upcoming election, early voting will be from Monday, October 13 through Thursday, October 30, and there are possible polling places open each day of the week, including any federal holidays that may occur between those days - specifically, Columbus Day on the 13th, which the Election Board seems to be using in a "clever" marketing campaign with the catch phrase "'discover' the convenience of early voting." You can vote any day of the week, so weekend voting is no problem at all. There are 50 polling places, one in each Ward, that are open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You can also vote at the Chicago Election Board office at 69 W. Washington St. any day of the week: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Sunday. You can vote at any of the completely accessible locations, but you will need to bring along a government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport). Early voting is done via touch-screen at all Cook County locations.

There are different hours and locations for suburban voters, but the same concepts still apply.

Also interesting to note is that the names of early voters are updated daily, and will be divulged to anyone who wants them by calling (312) 603-0900. So, we suppose, don't vote early if you don't want anyone to know.

Image via dbking

Can't wait another day to cast that vote? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.