McHenry County voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes in what some have called one of the most consequential midterm elections in the history of the United States.
Several races across the local, state and federal level are on the ballot this year, along with some local referendums and the chance for a new amendment to be added to the Illinois Constitution.
The election on Tuesday will mark the end of a saga that saw several normal election deadlines and dates moved around because of delays in the 2020 Census caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That in turn pushed back the state’s redistricting process and either compressed or elongated several election timelines.
What McHenry County voters need to know before going to the polls
Early voting ended on Monday, meaning voters will have one last chance on Tuesday to cast their ballots.
Polls on Tuesday will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. To find your polling place and see your sample ballot, you can visit the county clerk’s website and look it up by address.
For those who are not registered, the state offers a grace period to register to vote through Election Day, according to the county clerk’s website. To register, you need to be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and have been a resident in your voting precinct at least 30 days before Election Day.
For those voting by mail, the last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot was Thursday, five days before the election. Those who are mailing back their ballots must have them postmarked by Election Day, and the ballots must be received by Nov. 22 to be counted, according to the Illinois Board of Election’s website.
Ballots can be deposited into an election drop box until polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, according to the state board’s website.
Who’s on the ballot?
Two referendums across McHenry County will be voted on as well, according to the county sample ballot. They are for a nearly $16 million bond for Alden-Hebron School District 19 to improve its school buildings, and a $1 million bond for Dunham Township’s roads.
On the state level, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer and an Illinois Supreme Court seat are up for grabs, to name a few. Across the country, 36 governor’s seats are on the ballot this year.
Seats in the Illinois General Assembly are up as well. One referendum on the state level, a constitutional amendment to codify the right for workers to unionize in Illinois, is also on the ballot.
As is the case every two years, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is on the ballot, along with one-third of the U.S. Senate. For Illinois, 17 congressional seats and one Senate seat, currently held by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, are up in this year’s election.
Duckworth, a Democrat, will face Republican Kathy Salvi and Libertarian Bill Redpath.
Illinois has had 18 congressional seats in the past but had its total reduced by one after the decennial redistricting process that followed the 2020 Census. As a result, McHenry County now falls into four new congressional districts instead the previous two, and the McHenry County Board, in addition to redrawing its boundaries, made the decision to reduce its size from 24 members to 18.
The redistricting process was delayed by several months due to challenges in the Census that stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the primaries, which typically happen in either March or April, were pushed back to the end of June.
While the primary was extended by several months, the November election was compressed.
Despite this, and the many challenges that party officials said came along with it, early voting kicked off 40 days before election day on Sept. 29 with a strong turnout in its first day.
As of Monday afternoon, 26,353 voters cast ballots early, County Clerk Joe Tirio said. Nearly 17,600 of the 23,500 vote-by-mail ballots requested had been returned.
This compares with the 2018 midterm and gubernatorial race, where about 33,000 people voted early, but only 8,153 people voted by mail, Tirio said. That means 2022′s early total eclipsed 2018 by about nearly 2,800 votes as of 5 p.m. Monday.