The primary election season is upon us. For those interested in casting their ballot and getting an “I voted” sticker to prove it, here’s what you need to know.
How to register to vote
Voters can register online at ova.elections.il.gov, in person at the county clerk’s office, and there is also same-day registration at the polling place. Those who want to register same-day will need two forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and a piece of postmarked mail to your address. However, the online portal will close March 3 and reopen March 21, according to the portal.
More information about registering to vote can be found at elections.il.gov/votingandregistrationsystems/register.aspx.
“There’s always an option to register to vote,” McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said.
When and where to vote
Early voting begins Feb. 8 at the county building. More polling places will open March 4 for early voting, which will continue through March 16 or 18, depending on location. Election Day is March 19. Hours and dates vary at early voting locations, but voters can go to any one of them. The full list can be found here or go to mchenrycountyil.gov/departments/county-clerk/elections and click on “voter information.”
These early voting centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 4-8, 8:30 a.m. to noon March 9, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 11-15 and March 18, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 16, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 17:
- McHenry County Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock. This location has a 24/7 dropbox in the parking lot. All voters can also cast their ballots at this location on Election Day.
- McHenry Township Office, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg. This location has a dropbox inside the voting room.
- Algonquin Township Building 6B, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake. This location has a dropbox inside the voting room.
- McHenry City Hall, 333 S. Green St., McHenry. This location has a dropbox inside the voting room.
- Lake in the Hills Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate, Lake in the Hills. This location has a dropbox inside the voting room.
- Nunda Township Office, 3510 Bay Road, Crystal Lake.
These locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 4-8 and March 11-15, 8:30 a.m. to noon March 9, and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 16.
- Huntley Park District, 12015 S. Main St., Huntley.
- Cary Area Library, 1606 Three Oaks Road, Cary.
- Algonquin Library, 2600 Harnish Drive, Algonquin.
These locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 4-8 and March 11-15 and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 16:
Alternatively, voters can request a mail ballot online, through the mail or in person. Voters who request a vote by mail ballot can surrender the mail ballot at the polling place to vote in-person. Mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day to count. More information is at mchenrycountyil.gov/departments/county-clerk/elections/vote-by-mail.
Will I be able to see what’s on my ballot before I go?
Yes. Tirio said there should be a sample ballot and polling place locater online, estimating they will be up in coming days.
What’s on the ballot?
A number of seats are up, including half of the McHenry County Board, the coroner, auditor, circuit clerk and state’s attorney, in addition to federal races like U.S. House and, of course, president.
In McHenry County, though, there are only two contested county races in the primary in either major party.
Several referendums will be on the ballot in March, and voters uninterested in selecting a party preference can still vote on the referendums by choosing a nonpartisan ballot.
- All voters in McHenry County will be asked if they want to raise the sales tax countywide to shift funding of the Mental Health Board from property tax to sales tax.
- The village of Cary will be asking voters if they want to become a home rule municipality.
- The city of Marengo will be asking voters if they want to OK the city collecting a 1% sales tax to fund infrastructure.
- The Marengo Park District will be asking voters if they can annex land in Marengo, Coral and Riley townships.
- The Harvard Fire Protection District will be asking voters if they can increase the levy limit by 0.17%.
The Illinois Elections Board has ruled that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump can stay on the ballot in Illinois after challenges to their candidacies.
Tirio said that he didn’t think the challenges would impact getting the ballot ready.
“They will be ready to go,” Tirio said Tuesday of the ballots.
Tirio said early voters will use an electronic ballot marking device to make their selections, then the machine will print out those selections and then voters will place the printout into the tabulator.
He added all votes are cast on paper.
Tirio said his office is training election judges and anyone who wants to be one can call his office or visit the clerk’s website to fill out an application form. Election judges must attend a training and be present the entire day. Compensation is $200, according to the county clerk’s website.
“We could always use more is my standard answer,” Tirio said when asked if there was an election judge shortage.