Gus Bode’s guide to voting rights in Illinois

By Gus Bode, Staff Reporter

Election day is tomorrow and for many students, this will be the first time you are eligible to vote. Gus Bode is here to help so you can cast your ballot successfully.

Do I need to bring my ID?

You do not generally need to bring your ID to the polls in Illinois, however you may need it if this is your first time voting in a federal election. Or if you are registering to vote or changing your address at the polls, or if your right to vote is challenged by an election judge. 

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(See more: Voteriders.org).

What happens if I requested a mail in ballot?

If you requested a mail-in ballot but chose to vote in person, you will need to surrender your ballot at the polls or vote provisionally. 

“If you do not bring in your vote by mail ballot, you will only be able to vote provisionally. This type of ballot will not be counted until 14 days after the election,” Jackson County Clerk Frank Byrd said. “So it is very important to bring in your vote by mail ballot if you decide to vote in person.”

If you receive a mail-in ballot after voting in person, you are required by law to dispose of it.

If you lost your mail-in ballot you may sign an affidavit certifying that you have not already voted and cast your ballot provisionally, according to the ACLU of Illinois. If you requested a mail-in ballot and have not yet received it, you can sign an affidavit at your polling place and cast a regular ballot.

(See more: ACLU of Illinois shares how voters can ensure their ballot is counted on election day).

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What happens if I made a mistake on my ballot?

If you make a mistake on your paper ballot, you are able to return it to the poll worker and request a new one according to IL Public Act 094-0288.

If you have already cast your ballot, you will not be able to correct it.

What if I am in line when the polls close?

If you are in line when the polls close, stay in line. As long as you arrived before the closure you will be able to cast your ballot, you have the right to vote.

No campaigning at the Polls

Campaigning is prohibited within 100 ft of the polls, you may be asked to remove clothing, buttons, hats or other materials that advocates for a specific candidate.

If you are intimidated by anyone at the polls, or you are worried about a suspected poll watcher, report them to your local election authorities. 

You are not required to tell anyone who you voted for and no one is allowed to accompany you into the polling booth.

You can bring your child

According to IL Public Act 094-0288 you are able to bring a child under the age of 18 into the voting booth with you so long as they will not disrupt other voters.

You are also allowed to bring your own pen (make sure the ink is black!) and any reading/writing materials required to assist you.

Staff Reporter Gus Bode can be reached at [email protected] 

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