Voter registration open through Election Day

Emily Boyer, Courier Staff

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Despite what you might have seen online via social media earlier this week, the deadline to register to vote in Illinois has not passed. In fact, you can register all the way through Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Before casting a ballot in this year’s midterm elections, college students must first decide whether they’re going to vote back home or switch over their voter registration to Macomb.

“For me, it makes sense to have students register here,” Dr. Keith Bockelman, the Chair of Western’s Political Science Department said.

He said students spend the majority of the year away at school and should have a say in what happens in their college’s community.

“Voting is a chance to make a difference in local politics which affects them and how they live their lives in Macomb,” Bockelman said.

Local voters this fall will have the opportunity to choose the makeup of the county board as well as who will represent this area it the statehouse and in Congress. There are also a variety of statewide offices up for grabs including governor, comptroller, and attorney general.

Additionally, Bockelman said students who are registered to vote in Macomb will have the opportunity next spring to have their voices heard in city elections where turnout is much lower and single votes can make a difference in the mayoral race and city council elections.

McDonough County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes said ultimately, it’s a personal decision as to whether a student decides to vote in their hometown or in Macomb.

“A lot of times they will have ties to home, or someone they know is running for elected office,” DeJaynes said.

Ultimately, if a student decides to vote back home, De- Jaynes said they need to be planning a trip back to Macomb to cast their ballot or they can go ahead and request an absentee ballot online, print it off and mail it back in.

If a student decides to vote locally, DeJaynes cautions against waiting until Election Day to register and cast your ballot. She says those who put it off should expect to have to wait in a long line on Nov. 6 at the Mc-Donough County Courthouse. Students can register to vote online at the Illinois State Board of Election’s website through Oct. 21. Alternatively, they register to vote at the Mc- Donough County Courthouse, but be prepared to cast a ballot immediately after registering in person. You’ll need two forms of ID to register. One of them must show a local address that can be a piece of mail, university housing contract, or pay stub.

DeJaynes said her office willalso set up a make-shift polling station in the University Union the week of Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. She said the voting machines will be set up in front of the bookstore and student can register to vote and also cast a ballot between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. each day.

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