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Voting in 2020


     With fewer than two weeks to the Nov. 3 election day, more citizens are seeking ways to vote safely in the midst of a global pandemic. Seniors who will be 18 by Nov. 3 can register to vote by registering in-person at early voting sites or a local election office. 

Why voting is important:

     Over the summer millions of people marched together in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, along with many others by the police. Activists hope that the BLM movement will make a difference in future police reform as well as legislation passed by Congress. 
     Another policy that is in the limelight right now is the candidates stances on climate change. In 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would not participate in the Paris Agreement, whose aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. Vice President Biden, on the other hand, stated at the first presidential debate, “I will rejoin the Paris Accord.” 
     All U.S. citizens age 18 and over have the right to vote, and the 2020 election has galvanized many new voters to get registered. “It’s important that those who are eligible to vote take advantage of this right,” senior Lilianna Vaughan says. “This is our chance to vote for equality. We have to vote for the future we want to see,” she said.

What you need to know for voting:

     In order to vote in Illinois, you have to be a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 18 and a resident of Illinois. You can still register in-person between now and election day, even though the official deadline was Oct. 6. If you missed the Oct. 18 online registration deadline, you can still register in-person to vote during the “grace period” for registration that will continue until election day. For most Des Plaines residents, you can register in-person at the Des Plaines Public Library, according to the Des Plaines City Clerk. 
     Find more information at: https://www.desplaines.org/government/city_clerk/grace_period_and_voting.htm
     “It’s super important that we help educate others, like our parents, our family members, and our friends that can vote. We should remind them that every single vote counts,” said Vaughan. No matter whether you are a senior voting for the first time or you have a parent who wants to vote for the first time or has moved since the last election, anyone who is registering to vote will need to supply two forms of identification, which are explained on the Cook County Clerk’s website at https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/service/when-voters-do-and-dont-need-identification-id
     Once you’ve registered it’s time to decide how you’re going to vote. Your options are to vote early at an early voting site, vote in-person on election day, or request an absentee ballot to vote by mail.
     If you decide to vote in-person on election day, you’ll need to go to your assigned polling place and vote between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. You will only need to have a state ID or proof of residence if you’re a first time voter who registered to vote by mail and/or did not provide the required forms of identification when registering to vote.
     Since you’re a resident of Illinois, you can ask for a mail-in absentee ballot without needing an excuse. You can request a ballot by mail, in-person or online. The deadline to send a request for a mail-in absentee ballot is Oct. 29, which is 5 days before election day. The Cook County Clerk’s office, however, recommends making your request as soon as possible so as to avoid any postal delays. 
     You can also use the county website to request a mail-in absentee ballot. To complete a mail ballot application online you will need your state ID, driver’s license or the last 4 digits of your social security number. 
     If you decide to vote by mail, make sure you carefully read and follow the instructions on your ballot, sign and date where indicated and mail your voted ballot back to the address indicated on the return envelope. If you are voting by mail ballot for the first time and did not provide an ID, you must provide 2 forms of identification, including one that has your address. Nationally, there have been numerous examples of ballots being invalidated because voters did not follow all of the rules stated on the ballot, so voters must be careful to adhere to all of the procedures. 

How to get involved and learn more:

     When you go to vote, you’re able to take notes or a voters’ guide with information about the candidates. Knowing about your local candidates is just as important as knowing about the presidential candidates. You can go to illinoisvoterguide.org to learn who is on your ballot and find information about the candidates. If you’re like Yasmin Conde, and want, “a chance to be more involved in the political climate,” social media likely doesn’t provide the full picture, and you’ll need to reach out to other credible sources. The Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times all publish endorsements of candidates ranging from judges to state representatives, based on their qualifications. Voters can consider those endorsements when making their choices on their ballots. The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan group, also hosts candidate forums and candidate information on their website.

Written by : Samantha Servin
Illustration by : Kira Palmer


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