Voting early for Chicago mayor, clerk, treasurer, and alderman won’t automatically opt you out of the endless ads, flyers, and candidate forums, but we can only hope that someday there’s an app for that.
In the meantime, early voting sites are open now through February 25 in all 50 Chicago wards and at a Loop “Super Site” at 175 W. Washington. You can vote at any site ahead of the election, but if you wait until Election Day on February 26, you must vote at your designated polling place.
It’s a felony to even try to vote more than once, so once you cast your ballot, you’re done. Well, you’re done until the inevitable runoff election on April 2 but let’s burn that bridge when we get to it. The runoff is necessary if no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a race, and the runoff ballot will include the names of whoever received the highest and second-highest number of votes during the February election.
A full list of Chicago’s early voting sites is here. Every site will be open Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. You need to be registered before casting a ballot, and you can check your registration status here, a site that will also tell you which ward and precinct you’re in, who your current alderman is, and where your polling place is located, as well as provide a printable sample ballot.
Voters can update registration, register for the first time, or change their names or addresses at the polls. You just need two forms of government-issued ID, one of which has your current address. Click here for a list of acceptable forms, which include a utility bill or report card.
Some wards and precincts will also vote on what are known as advisory referenda involving:
- Whether to lift the ban on rent control; in precincts 1, 17, 20, 24, 26, and 30 of the First Ward; precincts 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 24, and 40 of the 26th Ward; precincts 11, 15, and 17 of the 45th Ward; and precincts 8 and 13 of the 50th Ward
- Whether there should be a community benefits agreement related to the Obama Presidential Center; in precinct 5 of the Fifth Ward, and precincts 1, 22, and 23 of the 20th Ward
- Whether revenue from marijuana legalization should fund neighborhood reinvestment in areas impacted by the war on drugs; in precincts 5, 23, and 26 of the Sixth Ward; precinct 33 of the 16th Ward; all precincts in the 17th Ward; precincts 5, 20, and 30 of the 24th Ward; all precincts in the 28th Ward; and precincts 2, 3, 16, 26 and 28 of the 29th Ward
- Whether there should be a community benefits agreement related to the El Paseo Trail; precincts 15 and 18 of the 12th Ward; precinct 15 of the 22nd Ward; and precincts 12 and 23 of the 25th Ward.
For more information, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has published a series of voting how-to videos, and several independent media outlets have partnered on the voter information site Chi.vote for election details and more. And our very own political reporters Maya Dukmasova and Ben Joravsky discuss the mayoral race and select aldermanic races on the Reader‘s Back Room Deal podcast. v