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The Office of Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough has begun distributing a record number of mail ballots to more than 400,000 suburban Cook County voters who have made a request to cast their vote by mail in the Nov. 3 General Election.  

Mail-In Ballots

Voters who have already requested mail ballots can expect to see them arriving in their mailboxes over the next week.  Voters who have not yet requested a mail ballot but would still like to do so have until Oct. 29 to make their request. The easiest and most convenient way to request a mail ballot is to apply online at the Clerk’s website, cookcountyclerk.com/VoteByMail.

Clerk Yarbrough encourages voters to apply online as soon as possible and provide an email address so that her office can inform them when their request is received and when their ballot is mailed. The deadline to return mail ballots is Nov. 3.  

Secure drop boxes will be available at all early voting sites beginning Oct. 19 for voters who prefer to drop off their ballot as opposed to mailing it. The early voting site in Evanston is the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. A nearby voting site is the Skokie courthouse on Old Orchard Road. Cook County voters can vote at any suburban Cook County early voting site; these can be found on the Cook County Clerk’s website.  

James Nally, who serves as Legal Counsel to Clerk Yarbrough, said, “Ballots that are put in the drop boxes will be picked up every day by personnel from the Clerk’s office and brought to our processing center. They will be stamped by our staff with the date they were received. So a ballot won’t have a postmark on it, but it will have the date it was received, and, as long as that date is Election Day or earlier, the ballots will be processed and counted.”

Early Voting

Voters who opt not to vote by mail can avail themselves of in-person Grace Period Registration and Early Voting beginning Oct. 7 at Cook County’s five suburban courthouses and at the Cook County Administration Building in Chicago.

Early voting for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election will take place Oct. 19 –Nov. 2  at the Morton Civic Center, Room G-300 (Ground Floor), 2100 Ridge Ave.

The City says it will take extra safety precautions within the Civic Center, frequently cleaning high-contact surfaces and making sanitizer available. Voters must wear face coverings at all times and are  also encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after entering the building and to practice social distancing by remaining six feet away from others.

Early Voting hours at the Morton Civic Center are as follows:

Monday through Friday

October 19-23, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

October 26-30, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

November 2, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday

October 24 and 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday

October 25 and November 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., residents should go to their registered polling location to vote.

A government-issued photo ID is not required to early vote, but is helpful if there is a question about the voter’s registration, address or signature.

Voter Qualifications

Residents can register to vote at all early voting sites. A complete list of locations can be found on the  Cook County Clerk’s website. To register, a voter must be:

  • a U.S. citizen
  • at least 18 years old by Election Day
  • a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day

Registrants must display two pieces of identification. Neither needs to be a photo ID, but one must include the current address. Acceptable forms of ID include an Illinois driver’s license, an Illinois state ID, an employee or student ID, a credit card, a Social Security card, a birth certificate, a utility bill in applicant’s name with the mail postmarked to the applicant, a valid U.S. passport, a Public aid ID card and a lease or rental contract.

In Illinois, voters do declare affiliation with a political party when registering to vote. In primary elections, voters may choose to vote a specific political party ballot on Election Day.