Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Early voting starts

Most people in Chicago who didn't want to vote on Election Day used to have to be out of town or sick to vote early but a new initiative to increase voter turnout has led Illinois to have its first early voting session in an Illinois general election. Now you really don't have an excuse not to vote!

Early voting starts

Published October 16, 2006

Sources: Cook County Clerk's Office, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners
Chicago Tribune

For the first time in an Illinois general election, voters will be allowed to cast ballots as many as 22 days before Election Day without a required excuse such as military duty or illness. In the March primary, about 30,000 ballots were cast in Chicago and suburban Cook County during early voting, roughly 1 percent of all registered voters. Election officials expect that number to at least double for the general election.

Early voting: (includes Saturdays, Sundays), Oct. 16-Nov. 2

Election day: Nov. 7

What to know

- Unlike absentee voting, no excuse is required to vote early.

- Early voters will be required to present a current driver's license, state-issued identification card or another government-issued ID card with a photograph.

- Early votes cannot be modified after being cast if a voter changes his or her mind about a candidate.

- For specific locations, call your county's election office or visit chicagotribune.com/politics and click on "Early voting."

- Counties will be required to provide at least one early voting location, although some plan to provide several.

- There will be 26 early voting sites in Chicago and 32 in suburban Cook County. Chicago and suburban Cook voters can vote at any location in Chicago or suburban Cook, respectively.

How to use the touch-screen machines

Voters make their choice by touching a display of candidates on the screen. A paper record is printed on the side to back up the vote count.

Note: For early voting, only touch screens will be used in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

For the general election, both optical-scan ballots and touch screens will be used.


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