Monday kicks off in-person early voting in Chicago ahead of the March 15 Illinois primary.
Voter turnout is generally low in Chicago, and has been for the last several primaries. The 2014 Illinois primary saw the worst turnout in the state’s history, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, with only about 16.5 percent of registered voters bothering to cast a ballot. But early voter turnout in 2014 was the highest it’s been since the program started 2006. According to the Cook County Clerk’s office, there were 43,027 early ballots cast that year, 18.6 percent of all of the ballots cast during that election.
If you want to keep up this trend and vote early, here’s what you should know:
Where and when to go
Early voting takes place from Monday, February 29, through Monday, March 14, and is offered at 51 sites throughout the city. Voters must cast their ballots in person.
Voters will use a touchscreen that stores every ballot style in the county. This allows for voters, even those in suburban Cook County, to vote at any location in the city.
All 50 wards have one early voting location, but after March 12 only 14 “permanent voting sites” will remain open in Chicago for early voters on March 13 and March 14.
Find the nearest voting location here.
What to bring
If you’re already a registered voter, you don’t need an ID as long as your address is current and your signature matches the voter signature on file. That said, the election board notes that an ID is still useful to have with you, just in case there are any questions about either of those things.
If you’re not already registered, registration services are available at early voting locations. You’ll need to present two forms of ID at the registration desk. Here are some of the acceptable forms of ID:
- Passport or military ID
- Driver’s license or state ID
- College/university/school/work ID
- Vehicle registration card
- Credit or debit card
You can check the complete list here.
Who to vote for
Now that you’re ready to participate in the democratic process, you need to make your choice. Here’s the latest unofficial ballot.
Vote early . . . but not often
Any ballots cast are final, and can’t be changed in the same election cycle. Attempting to vote more than once is a felony—yes, even in Chicago.