Local

Early voting clarified for Chicagoans

Thursday, November 01, 2012

There is some lingering confusion about early voting. Many people are looking for clarification about where to vote, when to vote and what identification is required.

Chicago elected officials and politicians are saying that the rules are designed simply to make sure people can get out and vote.

Early voting lines stretched were long Thursday, as they have since it began ten days ago in Illinois.

"Every day I have been coming down here but the line has been so long until I can't stand in the line," voter Bertha Robinson said.

Robinson had to show a photo i.d., which a requirement for early voting but not for Election Day.

"If someone challenges you or if you're a new voter, and you've registered by mail, then you can be asked for an i.d. but not necessarily a picture i.d.," State Senate President John Cullerton said.

Cullerton said several states, including Illinois, have debated legislation that would tighten voter identification laws. These statutes that were either shot down or their implementation will be delayed in states such as Pennsylvania and Texas.

"We don't want any hanky panky," U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said. "It's too important and it's too close."

With election boards expecting more early votes this year than the record set in 2008, officials anticipate a busy November 6th. Add in that many Chicagoans will vote at different polling places than in years past due to census changes, there's need for clarity.

Voters can verify their polling place in the city by texting 312-361-8846 to verify their polling place, Chicago Board of Elections Chairman Langdon Neal said.

Midnight on Thursday is the deadline to apply by mail for an absentee ballot.

Early voting ends on November 3rd. The timetable was shifted closer to Election Day and is actually 10 days shorter than 2008 because officials found that super early voting wasn't happening.

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