You've watched both political parties’ conventions -- and do your best to keep up on the latest news. You have decided, or will soon decide, for whom you will vote in November.
But before you can cast your ballot in this presidential election year, you must be sure of one more thing -- that you are registered to vote.
With less than a month left before voter registration closes, Cook County Clerk David Orr is reminding eligible citizens who want to vote in the Nov. 6, 2012 presidential election that they need to register by the Oct. 9 deadline.
"If you want to vote on Nov. 6, you must be registered," Orr said in a recent press release. "Make your mark by voting in the upcoming election."
First, check to see if you may already be registered, by visiting the Cook County Clerk’s website.
Register to vote
To be eligible to register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day and a resident of your precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day. Voters who have recently moved must re-register at their current address prior to the deadline.
To register to vote in the upcoming election, you may do one of the following:
Complete a mail-in application form, which can be obtained by clicking here, and return the application to the Cook County Clerk’s office at 69 W. Washington St., Fifth Floor, Chicago, IL 60602. All applications must be delivered or postmarked by Oct. 9.
Register in person with a certified registrar at one of the following locations:
- The Lemont Public Library, 50 E. Wend St., Lemont; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. To register after 5 p.m. or on weekends, call ahead at 630-257-6541.
- Lemont Township, 1115 Warner Ave., Lemont; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Lemont Village Hall (temporarily located at Central School at 410 McCarthy Road); Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Call ahead for availability at 630-257-1550).
If you are registering to vote in person, you must display two pieces of identification. Neither needs to be a photo ID, but one must include your current address. According to the office of the Cook County Clerk, acceptable forms of ID include:
- Illinois driver's license
- Illinois state ID
- Employee or student ID
- Credit card
- Social security card
- Birth certificate
- Utility bill in applicant's name
- Mail postmarked to the applicant
- Valid U.S. passport
- Lease or rental contract
Grace period registration and voting (Oct. 10-Nov. 3) is the only way to register or change your address or name after the regular registration period ends, if you are not registered or if your voter registration is not up-to-date.
According to the Cook County Clerk, a new law on grace period registration and voting extends the regular registration deadline by 21 days, allowing voters to register to vote up to one week before an election. Visit the clerk’s website so view the guidelines that limit when and where grace period registrants can vote.
Grace period registration locations include: 69 W. Washington St., Room 500, Chicago; and 10220 S. 76th Ave., Bridgeview. For a list of additional locations, click here.
Cast your vote
Registered voters may cast their ballots at any of the Cook County Clerk’s early voting sites from Oct. 22 through Nov. 3. Early Voting is conducted on touch screens that store every ballot style in the county, allowing any voter in suburban Cook County to vote at any location in the county.
In Lemont, residents may vote early at the Lemont Public Library, 50 E. Wend St. Call 630-257-6541 for early voting hours.
State law requires early voters to display valid photo identification to an election official before receiving a ballot. Valid forms of ID include a current driver’s license, state-issued ID card, university/college ID or another government-issued ID with a photograph.
Mail (absentee) voting
Any Cook County registered suburban voter is eligible to apply for a mail-in ballot for any reason. To apply to vote by mail, download and print a ballot by clicking here or by calling the Cook County Clerk’s office at 312-603-0946 to have an application mailed to you.
Applications for mail voting will also be available in late September at Lemont Village Hall (at Central School) as well as the Lemont Township office. Nov. 1 is the last day to request a mail (absentee) ballot.
In order to be counted for acceptance by the clerk’s office, completed mail ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 5 and received in the Cook County Clerk’s office within 14 days after the election.
Any voter who wants to vote in the final two days prior to the election may vote in person at any of the Cook County Clerk’s six offices, including Chicago and Bridgeview.
Voting in person on Election Day, Nov. 6
To find the polling location where you can cast your vote in person, click here and enter your address to find your precinct number.
Editor’s note: The above facts on voter registration and voting were compiled from information provided by the Village of Lemont and Cook County Clerk’s office.
For more information on the upcoming election, be sure to visit Lemont Patch’s November 2012 Election Central.
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