Election Day is Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Below are some things you should know before you vote.
Before you vote, make sure you know your polling place location. This is determined by the voting precinct you live in. Unlike early voting where a voter can go to any voting site in Chicago, voters on Election Day must vote at the polling place assigned to their precinct.
As you may know, the boundaries for the City’s 50 wards have been redrawn to account for changes in population. In addition, the Chicago Board of Elections has reduced the number of voting precincts as a cost saving measure and a recognition of the fact that more people are using early and absentee voting. This means that many voters will be casting their ballots at a new polling place.
Unlike many states, Illinois does not require you to show an ID before you vote in your polling place on Election Day. Instead, you will be asked to sign a document and the election judges will compare your signature to the one on file with the Board of Elections. If it matches, you can vote.
There is one exception to this rule. If you are voting for the first time from a new address and you registered to vote by mail, or completed a voter registration card where you did not show an ID, you must show sufficient identification to vote on Election Day. You will need two forms of ID, at least one of which must show your address of registration.
If the Election Judges Have no Record of Your Voter Registration, but You Firmly Believe You are Registered to Vote in Your Precinct, You May Cast a “Provisional Ballot”
On occasion, the Board of Elections makes a mistake and removes a registered voter from the rolls even though they have not moved since the last election. If you firmly believe you are registered to vote in your precinct, you may cast a “provisional ballot” even though the election judges in your precinct have no record of your voter registration.
(Special Note: If you registered on or near the voter registration deadline and your name does not show up on the precinct poll sheet at your polling place, be sure to ask the judges to check the “supplemental” poll list.)
Before you cast a provisional ballot, make absolutely certain you are voting at the correct precinct and polling place location. As noted above, the ward and precinct boundaries have changed since the last election and your polling place location may have changed. To check your polling place location, CLICK HERE.
You also may cast a provisional ballot if you are a first-time voter in the precinct and do not have sufficient personal identification.
Provisional ballots are separated from the other ballots on Election Day and will not be counted that evening. Instead, the Board of Elections will evaluate your provisional ballot application in a public process in the days following the Election to determine whether you are in fact a registered voter in that precinct. Your ballot will not be visible during this process. If the Board determines you are a valid registered voter in the precinct where you cast your provisional ballot, your ballot will be included in the final count.
You will have until 5 p.m., Thursday, November 8th, to submit any supporting documents to the Board of Elections that show you are a valid registered voter in the precinct where you cast your provisional ballot.
Even if You are not Registered to Vote at Your Current Address, You May Still Be Able to Vote for President
If you moved to a new address more than 30 days before the election and did not register to vote, you may still be able to vote for President and Congress, using a “Federal Office Only” ballot. However, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Your previous address was in Chicago;
- You were registered to vote at your previous address; and
• A record of your registration is at the polling place for your previous address.
If you satisfy those criteria, you must vote at the polling place for the old address where you were registered.
When voting a Federal Office Only ballot, you can vote for President and Congress only. You will not be eligible to vote for state and county offices, nor can you vote on any referendums or judicial retention.
If you moved to Chicago from the suburbs, downstate or another state, you are not eligible to vote a Federal Office Only ballot.
If you encounter a problem at your polling place with registration, equipment, an election judge or any other issue, call the Chicago Board of Elections Election Central Hotline at 312-269-7870.
Thank you for taking time to read this information. Few rights are more important than the sacred right to vote.