This is one year Labor supporters in Illinois don’t want to miss out on the Nov. 8 election.
Anti-union and corporate forces are trying to trick workers into voting against their own interests, while friends of Labor have opportunities to increase their strength up and down the ballot.
The Illinois 12th Congressional District lost its pro-union voice two years ago, when a state representative, Mike Bost, defeated incumbent Bill Enyart, and analysts say it was because too many Labor supporters didn’t vote.
But in the Metro-East, there’s no excuse not to vote, because the two largest counties offer several ways to cast ballots before Election Day.
Voter registration is continuing, the handy vote-by-mail system has already opened, and early voting will commence Sept. 29 in some places. Nobody has to wait until the long lines of Nov. 8 to cast a ballot.
VOTE BY MAIL
Any registered voter in Illinois may apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. You don’t have to be out of town on Election Day or unable to get to the polls.
It is available to members of the Armed Forces on active duty, U.S. government and merchant marine employees plus their spouses and dependents. People currently out of the country but maintaining an Illinois residence may apply as well.
Voters can apply for a mail ballot from now through Nov. 3 (Oct. 31 for service families and voters temporarily overseas). On Sept. 29, election authorities will begin mailing official ballots to those who apply.
Having a computer on-line will help in this process.
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- Go online to the Madison County Clerk’s web page by typing in “madisonvotes.com” or use a search.
- Select “Elections – all information” and, on the next screen, “Vote by mail.”
- Select “Vote by mail” again on the following screen, which will allow you to select “Verify” for your voter registration. You will need to give your birth date and address in passing this step.
- The program will give you a choice to apply by e-mail or U.S. mail. For e-mail, you fill out a form online and send it. For U.S. mail, you print out a form, fill it out and mail it to the address supplied.
- The clerk’s office will then send an official ballot to be filled out and returned. Instructions and the mailing address will be included.
ST. CLAIR COUNTY
- Go online to the St. Clair County Clerk’s website by running a search.
- Choose “elections” from the main page.
- Choose “vote by mail” from the next page, which will bring the application form.
- To reply by mail, download the form, fill it out and mail it to the address provided. To reply by e-mail, just fill out the form and send it. Either way, the county will send you a ballot with further instructions.
You can’t have your say if you’re not registered to vote. Fortunately, Illinois makes it easy to register. Voters must 18 years old by Election Day and must have lived in their precincts for at least 30 days before Election Day.
They will need two forms of identification, with at least one showing the current address, for those registering in person. A utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government document showing name and address can be used. So can a state ID card or a college ID.
Places to register include the county clerk’s office; city, village and township offices; schools, public libraries and military recruitment offices, and other designated places. Registration can also be made online or with deputy registrars.
Registration is open year-round except for the 27 days just before an election, and even that time is open for in-person registration at certain sites in the “grace period” program, such as the county clerk’s offices or early voting locations.
Various rules apply to voters who move before the election; contact the local election authority.
Also, St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook said his office was required to send about 16,000 notices to residents asking them to confirm their registrations. These mostly went to people who registered before 1985. Anyone getting the notice needs to reply to it to make sure they stay registered.
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The handiest way to get your vote in early is called Early Voting. You don’t need to be out of town on Election Day. All you need is to be a registered voter and show up at one of the following times and locations, so you can just skip the hassle of Election Day.
In Madison County, the three main locations are:
- The County Administration Building in Edwardsville at 157 Main St.
- The Alton Law Enforcement Center at 1700 Broadway.
- The Granite City Township Building at 2060A Delmar.
According to the county website, early voting days and hours for these locations will be as follows:
- Oct. 24-28 (Monday through Friday), 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 29 (Saturday), 9 a.m.-noon.
- Oct. 30 (Sunday), 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Oct. 31-Nov. 4 (Monday through Friday), 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Nov. 5 (Saturday), 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Nov. 6 (Sunday), 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Nov. 7 (Monday), 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the Willow Room at the Morris Center, from noon to 5 p.m., Oct. 24 though Nov. 1, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, 3 and 4.
Several other locations are being designated as well, including:
- Bethalto Village Hall, 213 N. Prairie;
- Collinsville Senior Citizens Center, 420 E. Main;
- Lewis & Clark College, Ahlemeyer Atrium in the Trumpe Advanced Technology Center;
- Highland Latzer Library, 1001 9th St.;
- Madison Fire Station, 1800 3rd St.;
- Troy City Hall, 116 E. Market St.;
- Wood River Township Office, 41 S. 9th.
For these locations, the early voting dates and hours are noon to 6 p.m. weekdays, Oct. 24-Nov. 4; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.
ST. CLAIR COUNTY
St. Clair County offers early voting in the county clerk’s office at 10 Public Square in Belleville beginning Sept. 29, the first day that it can. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday plus 8:30 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of each month.
The county has not yet announced other early voting locations on its website, but in past elections, they were the Caseyville Township Office at 1001 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights; and the O’Fallon Township Office, 801 E. State St., O’Fallon. Dates will be Oct. 24 through Nov. 7.
EAST ST. LOUIS
East St. Louis has its own election commission, at 301 River Parks Drive, Suite 300. They will have early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 29. The office will be open until 7 p.m. Oct. 11 and from 8 a.m. to noon on two Saturdays, Oct. 1 and 8, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on two Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, according to its website.