Vote! Additional early polling places opening

Early voting, grace-period registration expands at sites statewide ahead of Nov. 6 election

 A former Hickory Township polling place in Sheldons Grove. (National Archives and Records Administration/Arthur Greenberg)

A former Hickory Township polling place in Sheldons Grove. (National Archives and Records Administration/Arthur Greenberg)

By Ted Cox

Election season is ramping up ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms with early voting expanding at sites statewide this week.

The state began combining early voting with same-day registration two years ago, and this week finds additional polling places opening. To find a polling place offering early voting and so-called grace-period registration, use the search page at the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Voters need to be U.S. citizens, 18 years old by Nov. 6, and residents of their precinct for at least 30 days prior to the election. Two forms of identification are required to register onsite.

According to the Board of Elections, valid forms of identification include a driver’s license or state ID card “or, if the person does not have either of those, verification by the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number, a copy of a current and valid photo identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other federal, state, or local government document that shows the person’s name and address.”

Also valid is “a photo identification issued by a college or university accompanied by either a copy of the applicant’s contract or lease for a residence or any postmarked mail delivered to the applicant at his or her current residence address.”

Onsite, grace-period registrants must vote at the time they register.

According to the latest state figures, more than 100,000 voters have already mailed in their ballots. More than 77,000 have voted early at polling places, including 1,632 newly registered voters.

Voters can request a mail-in ballot until Nov. 1. In the event they request a ballot but don’t send it in, they should bring the ballot with them to their polling place Nov. 6 or be prepared to sign an affidavit stating they didn’t vote by mail.

The state has more than 8 million registered voters.