Early Voting Ends Oct. 28; DON'T Try to Vote By Mail

Early voting for the Tuesday, November 2 general election continues today, Oct. 27, through tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 28. Voters wishing to cast their ballots early may do so between 9 AM and 5 PM today or tomorrow, whether or not you will be in town on Nov. 2, at numerous locations in Cook County. Locations convenient for Evanston voters include the following:
Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston
Skokie Courthouse, 5600 W. Old Orchard Rd., Skokie
Skokie Village Hall, 5127 Oakton St., Skokie
Vote absentee in person, not by mail
Meanwhile, many voters, especially younger voters and others who have voted absentee in the past, may have read about, or received, applications to "vote by mail."

What this really means is applying for an absentee ballot. Unlike previous years, where you had to swear you'd be out of town or have some other important reason why you couldn't vote in person, Illinois this year permits anyone who wants to vote absentee to do so, in two steps (1) requesting an absentee ballot, and (2) mailing it back before the election. That was very convenient if you did it a week or two ago. However, because of important deadlines, I don't recommend trying to do so at this late date.
First, to even consider your application, the Cook County Clerk has to receive your application by Thursday, Oct. 28. If you mail it back to an organization such as the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign (which has apprently sent out many applications very late due to a "glitch" in their mailing house), there's a good chance it won't get to the clerk on time.
Second, even if the Clerk gets your application on the 28th and mails out a ballot, say on Friday, you won't get it until Saturday or probably Monday, which means you have to mail it almost immediately, or messenger or overnight it, or deliver it yourself by Monday, Nov. 1. A ballot postmarked after Monday, Nov. 1 will not be counted.
Early voting is the easiest way to vote other than on Election Day. If you miss the early voting window and you want to vote absentee, at this point it's safer to vote absentee in person than by mail. You can vote absentee in the final four days prior to the election at each of the Clerk's six office locations including the Skokie Courthouse.
The hours are as follows for all locations:

  • Friday, October 29 -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 30 -- 9 a.m. to noon
  • Sunday, October 31 -- 9 a.m. to noon
  • Monday, November 1 -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Of course, there's always the traditional voting at your polling place on Election Day itself! Whatever method you choose, please remember to vote. It's your right; use it.