Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Voter Registration - Today, Tomorrow, Next Week Even (but don't dally)

A string of recent news stories (or maybe it's just the headlines) have noted that today is the last day to register to vote in the February 2 primary election. While that's true, it's only part of the story, and we hope that no one who wants to vote in the primary and is eligible to do so gives up because they think they've missed the deadline. Illinois offers many ways to register and participate in elections; just as one door shuts, another opens.

Today is the last day to register with a deputy registrar and with the motor voter system. But if you want to vote in the primary, you will still have an alternative. It will require more effort, but for the next three weeks you can take advantage of "grace period" registration. To do this, you'll need to go to your local election authority and register in person. Bring two forms of ID with you, at least one with a photograph (drivers license, passport, state ID with a photo; a written lease or a utility bill or bank statement mailed to your home will also do for the second). Be prepared, though; you also may be required to vote when you register, as some jurisdictions combine grace period registration with early voting. The unregistered have until January 26th to take advantage of grace period registration.

Grace period registration is increasingly common and will allow people who did not get to the registrar by the 28th day before the election to cast ballots in the primary. If you want to vote and are not now registered, don't assume it's too late.

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