Chicago Elections: Everything you need to know to vote Feb. 26

The Austin People-Powered Voter Guide

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By BETTINA CHANG

Co-founder of City Bureau

Get ready for the upcoming Chicago election! All registered voters will have the opportunity to vote for Chicago's mayor, city clerk, treasurer and the alderman that represents their ward (i.e. City Council member). You can vote in person on Election Day, you can vote early at designated polling places or you can vote by mail.

If no candidate in a race gets the majority of the vote after February 26, a runoff election between the top two candidates will be held on April 2. (Many Chicagoans will remember the runoff election in 2015 between Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.)

For reference, much  of this information is available at the official Chicago Elections website: www.chicagoelections.com 

Eligibility

To register to vote, you must:

be a U.S. citizen

be born on or before Feb. 26, 2001

live in your precinct at least 30 days before the election

not claim the right to vote elsewhere

not be in prison/jail serving time for a conviction

Note: People in jail awaiting trial are eligible to vote. People who have been convicted of a crime and have finished serving a sentence (including people on parole) can also vote.

Registration

You must be registered to vote; however, you can register anytime before or on Election Day. (Just to be safe, we recommend registering in advance!)

1

Check if you're registered. You would have received a piece of mail if you are–to be sure, you can go to www.chicagoelections.com and enter your address to see. If you are registered, your voter card (or the website above) will give you your polling place and absentee ballot options.

2

 If you're not already registered, you can register online, via snail-mail, in-person at Early Voting, on Election Day, or at the Secretary of State's office. More detailed information for all of these options is available at the Chicago Elections website.

Registering during Early Voting: You must present two forms of ID, one of which must show your current address. Chicago voters may use any of the dozens of Early Voting locations in the city:

At Loop Super Site from Jan. 30 - Feb. 25

At any ward site (see addresses below) from Feb. 11 - Feb. 25.

Election Day registration: Same requirements as above, but you can only do this at the polling place assigned to your home precinct.

How to Vote

Chicago offers several options for voters:

Early voting (in-person)

Vote by mail (also called absentee voting)

Election Day voting (in-person)

However, you cannot vote online.

Identification: You do not need a photo ID if you are voting on Election Day and have voted from your current address previously. However, you must bring a government-issued photo ID if you've changed your address or are voting for the first time at your polling place. You do not need to bring your voter ID card (which you may have received in the mail from the Illinois Board of Elections) at all.

What else to bring: You may bring any voter guides or helpful material, including your smartphone, into the voting booth.

Voting by Mail

Anyone can vote by mail. However, in order to receive a ballot, you will have to submit a Vote By Mail application. Applications can be submitted online or at the offices of the Board of Election Commissioners. The deadline for requesting a ballot is 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.

You'll receive a ballot in the mail with instructions; if you submit this ballot, it is your final vote.


Early Voting

There are two windows of in-person early voting starting Jan. 28, described below. Remember: A government-issued photo ID is not required but is helpful if there is a question about your registration, address or signature, or if there are two voters with the same or similar names at the same address.

Registration services are available at every Early Voting site, and any voter who needs to register for the first time or file an address update or a name change must show two forms of ID, one of which shows the voter's current address.

Any ballot cast in Early Voting is final.

First window for Early Voting (now until Feb. 10): All registered voters may use the Loop Super Site, 175 W. Washington.

Mondays thru Saturdays — 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sundays — 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

(Feb. 11 to Feb. 25): All registered voters may use the Loop Super Site, 175 W. Washington, as well as ward-specific sites.

Monday, Feb. 11 - Saturday, Feb. 16 — 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 17 — 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 18 - Friday, Feb. 22 — 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 23 — 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 24 — 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 25 — 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ward-specific sites:

Ward 28: West Side Learning Center, 4624 W. Madison (On Feb. 25, this site will remain open through 7 p.m.)

Ward 29: Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale

Ward 37: West Chicago Avenue Library, 4856 W. Chicago

See all 50 ward sites at 

www.chicagoelections.com


Election Day Voting

On February 26, you must go to your designated polling place, so double-check the location on your voter ID card or on the Chicago Elections website. If you've moved since the last election, make sure you update your registration.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you experience any trouble voting, call 866-OUR-VOTE or text "Our Vote" to 97779 for assistance from election lawyers and legal aides. This hotline is run by a coalition of nonpartisan groups dedicated to protecting your right to vote.

You can also call the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago: 

Voter help-line (English) 312.269.7900

Voter help-line (Español): 312.223.0820

Voter help-line (Polski): 312.223.0823

Text telephone (TTY): 312.269.0027

Where is this information from?

Voting information on this page was compiled by City Bureau in partnership with Austin Weekly News. Information is from the official Chicago Elections website (www.chicagoelections.com) as well as the Chi.vote Collective (http://chi.vote), a group of nonpartisan media and civic organizations that created an easy-to-use hub for Chicago election information, candidate profiles and more. The founding partners of the Collective are the Better Government Association, Block Club Chicago, The Chicago Reporter, The Daily Line and The Triibe.

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