Register to Vote!

In more than one way this year, we as citizens of the United States can make our voices heard and accounted for. You may have already filled out the Census this year, but there’s one more civic duty to do: VOTE!

But what do you need to do in order to vote in Illinois? Check out the video or the informational post below to learn more:

Publice Service Announcement brought to you by the Young Lawyers Section of the CBA and the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.

First, you must be a US Citizen.

Second, you must live in the state of Illinois and your election precinct at least 30 days before the upcoming election. In other words, you have to start living in your precinct by October 4th.

Third, you can only vote in the state of Illinois.

Fourth, you must be at least 18 years old.   

Finally, you cannot be incarcerated. But once you have served your sentence, you can vote again in Illinois elections. As the saying goes, second chances are hard to come by. So, don’t miss this opportunity.

So now that you know what you need to do to vote, you need to ask yourself: am I registered to vote in IL? If you have the privilege of voting in your first election because you just turned 18, you moved to or to a different part of Illinois, or have had your voting rights restored, there are several things you can do to ensure you are registered to vote.

REGISTER TO VOTE IN PERSON

The simplest way to register to vote is to do it in person. You can do so by visiting one of the 6 Offices of the Cook County Clerk, your city or township’s clerk, or by visiting any DMV that allows you to obtain or renew your driver’s license. The deadline to register to vote in person is October 6th.

But, registering to vote or even voting in person isn’t going to be desirable or an option for many of us. As much as we would like COVID-19 and this year to be nothing more than just another entry in the pandemic movie genre, we do not live in that world. However, there are ways to register to vote while socially distancing yourself.

REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE

First, you can register to vote via the Internet by visiting ova.elections.il.gov. This website provides a very thorough, yet straightforward way for you to register to vote. The only things you will need to do to register to vote online are a driver’s license or Illinois ID, and your Social Security card. The deadline to register to vote via the Internet is October 18th.

REGISTER TO VOTE BY MAIL

If you don’t have these, you may think it’s the end of the line. But wait! There’s more ways to vote in Illinois. You can still vote by mail. To do so, you will need to fill out the National Voter Registration Form, which can be found by visiting the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s website at eac.gov.

When you receive the National Voter Registration Form, if you do not have a driver’s license or social security card, then please write the word “NONE” on box 6. You will be given a unique identifier by the State of Illinois. You should also have a copy of a current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document. You must postmark this registration to vote via mail by October 6, 2020. No matter what, whether you register to vote via the Internet or mail, you are also able to obtain a mail ballot and ensure your safety on Election Day.

ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY

Finally, are you or a loved one a member an active-duty military member or part of our armed forces? We first want to thank you for your service. But we also want to let you know that you are still, or your loved ones are able to vote, even if they are serving our country. To do so, they need to fill out the Federal Post Card Application, which can be found at fvap.gov. Once the Application is filled out, it must be sent to your election official, who can be found once again at fvap.gov. Do so right away, because the deadlines to turn in a ballot overseas are much earlier than expected.

GRACE PERIOD TO REGISTER IN PERSON

If none of these methods work out, you can still register to vote in-person, even on Election Day through a grace period in Illinois. But if you do, make sure to bring one of a driver’s license, university or college ID card, and a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government documents showing your name and address.

RECAP

Thank you all so much for tuning in! We’re going to close today’s segment with a quick recap of the deadlines for each of the voting registration methods we talked about today:

  1. In-person: October 6th
  2. By mail: postmarked October 6th
  3. Online: October 18th
  4. Through the grace period in-person and at your polling place: November 3rd

With everything that has happened this year, a very important 100th anniversary has almost been forgotten. That anniversary is the passing of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. A right which has been fought for so hard, by so many different people. The right for us to take our solemn vows, express them, and ensure a possible and better good in our society. That is the power of voting. So, go out and exercise that power this Election.

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