Didn't get to vote early? Wondering who to vote for? Not sure who is on your ballot? Dont worry. If you are a registered voter, and if you are reading this on your personal computer, all the information you need is literally at your fingertips or at the click of your mouse.
First, you need to find out who is on your ballot and where you have to go to vote.
There is a very handy tool available for public use right here. Click to the page, type in your name and address, follow the instructions as you go, and before you can say, "Mayor Daley's not on the ballot," you will have your very own personalized sample ballot, as well as the address of your polling place and a map of its location. Print it, if you like, you are allowed to carry this into the voting booth with you.
Remember too, polling places sometimes change. So, even if you remember where you voted in the last election, you may want to use this tool just to double check.
Tuesday, Feb 2, is Primary Election Day in all of Illinois. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (All voters that are in line, inside the polling place, at 7 p.m., will be allowed to vote.
The vast majority of registered voters will not be asked to show I.D. (Your matching signature is all the identification you will need.) But, to be safe, bring your driver’s license or another photo I.D.
One thing that you do not want to bring is any kind of campaign literature or advertising. Electioneering is strictly forbidden inside a polling place or within 100 feet of its entrance. This means no campaign buttons, flyers, hats, t-shirts, etc. If you find you have brought something with you by mistake, put it away in your pocket or purse, take it off, or cover it with a coat ro jacket.
Once you show up, you'll need to get a ballot. Since this is a primary election, you will be asked to declare your party. (In Cook County, three parties are holding primaries: Democratic, Republican, and Green.) You will receive ballot showing only the candidates in the party you declared.
Don’t panic if you registered to vote but your name is not on the list. Get help from a poll worker to make sure your vote is counted. You should be given a provisional ballot or given directions to another polling place.
Poll workers (called Election Judges) are there to help you. They’ll show you how to use the voting machine or give you a provisional ballot if you need one. Ask, or read the signs at your polling place, which have instructions, list your voting rights, and say how to file a complaint.
Don't be shy, the election judge is your friend... really nice people. If you happen to be voting at John Muir School in Hoffman Estates, please say hello. I've been an election judge since Bill Clinton's second term.
How long will you have to wait to vote? Well, probably too long. Turn out for primary elections is usually very low. But this one may be different, as there are tightly contested races in both major parties for Governor, Lt. Governor and U.S. Senator. Even if the line is long, don’t leave without voting. The outcome of this election is very important to you!
For a complete list of candidates for state constitutional offices, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, with links to their websites, please click here.
For all primary election candidates for Cook County offices, including county board and county board president, please click here.
... and we'll see you at the polls!