Today Is Primary Day In Illinois: Here’s What You Need To Know When You Go Vote | St. Louis Public Radio

Today Is Primary Day In Illinois: Here’s What You Need To Know When You Go Vote

Mar 17, 2020

Editor's Note: This article was originally published by the Belleville News-Democrat.

Illinoisans go to the polls Tuesday amid extraordinary circumstances to select nominees for various offices from president to county board chairman. 

Election judge Judi Brunstein uses a disinfectant spray to clean and disinfect a voting booth at the polling place inside Douglas Elementary School in Belleville. The polling location was down four judges and had about a third of the normal traffic it usually sees in the first few hours of Election Day.
Credit Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Local and state election officials prepared for an Election Day amid a pandemic that was effectively shutting society down piecemeal in Illinois. The election will still go on, but with extra precautions and changes.

Disinfectants and cleaning products will be on hand at all polling sites, and election judges are being encouraged to avoid shaking hands or touching voters. Voting equipment will be sanitized regularly throughout the day of the primary.

Here’s what you need to know for the March 17  primary if you live in the Metro East.

When are the polls open?

6 a.m. to 7 p.m. statewide

Has my polling place moved?

Amid concerns about COVID-19, elections officials in Madison and St. Clair counties relocated polling places and took other precautions.

Three polling stations at senior living homes have officially been moved to alternative venues.

Belleville Precinct No. 34 moved from Westfield Manor senior living apartments to the St. Clair County Housing Authority building at 1790 S. 74th St. in Belleville.

In Madison County, the polling place at Asbury Village in Godfrey will still vote on the senior living center premises, but at 5219 and 5222 Aldergate, across the street from the original polling place.

People who would have voted at Meridian Village will now vote at Calvary Baptist Church, 2249 Illinois State Route 157, in Edwardsville.

How do I find my polling place?

You can look up your polling place on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. You can also find contact information for your local election authority on the board’s website.

What will I be voting for?

Illinoisans will choose political party nominees for offices including president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator, state representative, state Supreme Court, appellate court and county offices such as county board chairman, state’s attorney, coroner and county board members. The nominees will compete in the Nov. 3 general election.

There are multiple ballot referenda in the Metro East as well. Voters in Highland and O’Fallon will weigh in on whether to allow recreational cannabis dispensaries in their communities. In Alorton and Centreville, voters will decide if the two towns should combine into a single municipality, Alcentra.

Glen Carbon will ask voters if the village should take out $7.4 million in bonds to pay for street improvement. Caseyville will decide if it should increase property taxes to pay for fire service.

To vote in an Illinois primary, you must declare party affiliation. A poll worker will ask you what type of ballot you wish to take. Depending on your location, you may be able to take a Democratic, Republican, Independent or nonpartisan ballot. Nonpartisan ballots typically only include referendum questions.

The Belleville News-Democrat invited candidates in contested races to provide responses to a survey. You can find their responses along with other political coverage here.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Each Illinois county is required to provide at least one location where you can register to vote on Election Day. You can look up your county’s same-day registration location. You must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of your jurisdiction for at least 30 days and at least 18 years old.

Two forms of identification are required to register on Election Day and can include:

  • Passport or military ID, driver’s license or state ID card.
  • College/university/school/work ID.
  • Vehicle registration card.
  • Lease, mortgage or deed to home.
  • Credit or debit card.
  • Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid card.
  • Insurance card.
  • Civic, union or professional membership card.
  • LINK/Public Aid/Department of Human Services card.
  • Illinois FOID card.

Examples of first-class mail addressed to you that can be used include:

  • Bill, transcript or report card from school.
  • Official mail from any government agency.
  • Utility, medical or insurance bill.
  • Bank statement, pay stub or pension statement.

You do not need identification to vote in Illinois as long as you are not registering for the first time or changing your registration.

What happens if a poll worker challenges my vote?

If a poll worker challenges your right to vote because your name isn’t on the poll list, or you can’t provide proper identification, or for any other reason, you are entitled to vote by provisional ballot. If you cast a provisional ballot, you are also entitled to written information describing how you can later find out if elections officials counted your ballot.

If I'm in line when the polls close, can I still vote?

Yes. If you are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m., you can still vote.

Reporter Kavahn Mansouri contributed to this report. He and Kelsey Landis are reporters for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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