Monday, October 22, 2012

Early voting in Illinois starts today

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will likely try to sway the electorate in their final televised debate this evening, but some Illinois voters will have already cast their votes hours before the two duke it out on the national stage.

Registered voters can begin casting their ballots for the general election today at early voting locations across the state. Voters do not have to provide a reason for casting their vote before the November 6 general election. Early voting centers must be open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Most centers also offer weekend hours. Early voting will be available until November 3. To locate an early voting center in your area and check their hours, see the State Board of Elections’ website. 

According to the State Board of Elections, almost 1 million voters—or 16 percent of Illinois voters who participated in the 2008 presidential election—cast their votes early in 2008. “Voting early by personal appearance, without having to give a reason, has proven to be a popular option for Illinois voters,” Rupert Borgsmiller, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said in a written statement. “Voters appreciate the convenience of going to the polls on their own schedule.”

Voters who are away from home can cast an absentee ballot in person or by mail until November 5. The deadline to register for the November general election has passed. However, voters who have not yet registered can participate in grace period voting until November 3. For more information about grace period voting, including locations in your area where you can participate, contact your local election authority.

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