The 2014 midterm elections had the lowest voter turnout of the previous 70 years, with only 36.7% of eligible voters participating, according to the United States Election Project. This year’s midterm elections are extremely important, as the Senate and the House of Representatives could switch party control. Furthermore, many states are having gubernatorial and congressional elections, and state senate/house seats are also up for grabs. In Illinois, in particular, there will be elections for the Governor, Attorney General, Congress, and the State House and Senate, as well as many for various local and city offices. The rest of this article will present you with voting information and important dates so that you can be an active participant in these elections.
How to Register:
In order to register to vote in Illinois, you must be a U.S citizen, have an Illinois state ID or driver’s license, and be 18 years old by the date of the general election. Additionally, you must live in your election precinct 30 days before the election and not be serving a sentence of confinement. You also cannot claim the right to vote in any other state. You may consider yourself officially registered to vote once you receive your voter ID card in the mail. In Illinois, you may also register to vote on Election Day at your polling location. You can also register to vote through the mail, in person at your local County Clerk's Office, or online at the following link: https://ova.elections.il.gov/.
Early voting starts on September 27th and ends on November 5th. November 1st is the last day to request absentee ballots, and they must be postmarked by November 5th. You do not need a specific reason to request an absentee ballot. You can find absentee ballots here: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/illinois/.
In Illinois, polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In general, you will not be required to present a form of ID when voting. However, if you did not show a proof of ID when you registered to vote, you will be required to show an ID at the polls. If you are voting early, you will also be required to show your ID at the polls.
And starting this year, there will be a polling location in Reynolds Club! So, now you don’t even need to leave campus to vote.
Illinois Candidates: Click the Ballot Ready links for more information about each candidate and to see all of the candidates running for each position. Even if you’re not registered in Illinois, you can use ballotready.org to cast an informed vote!
Governor and Lieutenant Governor: https://www.ballotready.org/v/positions/79615
JB Pritzker & Juliana Stratton (D)
Bruce Rauner & Evelyn Sanguinetti (R)
Attorney General: https://www.ballotready.org/v/positions/79617
Kwame Raoul (D)
Erika Harold (R)
U.S. Representative: https://www.ballotready.org/v/positions/46389
Bobby Rush (D)
Jimmy Tillman (R)
Voting Information for Other States:
Hopefully all of this information will help you exercise your right to vote here in Illinois or in any other state across the country. Every state is having important races during these midterms. These upcoming elections will shape our country for the next few years and, though past midterm elections have been overlooked, it is vital to let your voice be heard! So make sure to get out and vote!