Voting in this year’s presidential election has already begun. In Evanston, many voters have already received mail-in ballots, and early voting here begins Oct. 19. Evanston’s early voting site in on the ground floor of the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

Voting by Mail

The office of Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough mailed an application for a mail-in ballot to everyone who voted in the November 2018 election. The County Clerk’s office began mailing the ballots last month, but there is still time to request one. Through Oct. 29, registered Cook County voters can request a mail-in ballot online at cookcountyclerk.com/votebymail.

Mail-in ballots have prepaid postage. As an alternative to using the United States Postal Service, Cook County officials will have secure drop-boxes at early voting sites, where voters can hand over their mail-in ballots.

The drop-boxes that may be most convenient for Evanston voters will be at the early voting area of the Civic Center and at the Skokie Court House. Voters can take their mail-in ballots to the Civic Center during voting hours (see below).

The drop-boxes will be fireproof and tamper-proof, and, since they will be placed in early-voting sites, there will be election judges on hand.

Voter verification is required. The voter must sign in a specified place on the outside of the ballot “to verify they are the one who cast the vote,” said James Nally, who serves as legal counsel to the Cook County Election Board. Anyone who wishes to use the drop-box for their ballots but who is unable to get to the early-voting site may designate someone to deliver the ballot. The voter can sign, also on the outside of the ballot, to verify permission for the designated person to deliver the ballot.

Each day of early voting when the polls close, the mail-in ballots will be removed from the drop-box and sent to be processed.

A voter who has received a mail-in ballot but not cast it and later decides to vote in person may still do so, Mr. Nally said. On Election Day only, the voter may present the mail-in ballot to an election judge at the polling place and receive instructions on how to proceed.

Early Voting

Early voting will take place from Oct. 19 through Nov. 2. Evanston’s early-voting site is in room G-300, on the ground floor of the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

The City has said it will take precautions to ensure the safety of those participating in early voting – frequently cleaning contact surfaces, making hand sanitizer available, requiring face coverings and advising social distancing of at least six feet.

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.

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.

Residents can register to vote at all early voting sites, the locations of which are available on the Cook County Clerk's website. To register, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by Election Day, and a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day. Any voter registering for the first time or filing an address change or name change must present two forms of ID, one of which shows the voter's current address. Accepted forms of ID are an Illinois driver's license, Illinois state ID, employee or student ID, credit card, Social Security card, birth certificate, utility bill in applicant's name, mail postmarked to the applicant, valid U.S. passport, Public Aid ID card and a ease or rental contract.

Election Day

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., residents should go to their registered polling location to vote. Many polling places have been changed because of the pandemic, and voters can find their polling places at ova.elections.il.gov or www.vote.org.

Anyone wishing to be an election judge can contact the political party of their choice. The two major-party sites for Evanston voters are https://evanstondems.com/, Democratic, https://www.facebook.com/etgop, Republican.