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Haven’t Registered To Vote? In Illinois, It’s Not Too Late

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After months and months of campaigning, Election Day is finally here. Illinois residents around the state will head to their precinct today and cast their votes. Morning Shift checks in with Cook County Clerk David Orr to explain what you need to know about same day registration, wait times, and what to do if your rights are being violated.

What should I do if I still need to register to vote?

In Illinois people are allowed to register to vote on Election Day. If you’re heading to the polls and still need to register, first determine your precinct polling place, then head to that location with two pieces of identification, one of which lists your current address. Review the acceptable forms of identification here. 

"Many people have moved and don’t realize that they haven’t been automatically registered," Orr said.

Contact the Cook County Board of Elections for more information about where and how to register on Election Day, if needed.

How long will it take?

At some Cook County polling locations, Orr said voters are registered in the same lines set for casting ballots. Orr said it’s an efficient process but not to dally -- those lines typically stretch much longer later on in the day.

What if I think my rights are being violated?

Smell something fishy at the polls? Orr said many mistakes can be made during early voting which can lead to Election Day drama.

The Michael O’Brien that lives two blocks from me voted as me earlier this morning. Whoops. The trials of a commonly named man. — Michael O’Brien (@michaelsobrien) November 8, 2016

Here’s a mock scenario: A man named John Smith-Lopez is standing in line at the polls prepared to vote. But the polling station tells him that he had voted already. So what went wrong?

“In early voting all the 1.5 million voters are in the system. You could imagine how many Smiths and Lopezs there are,” Orr said.

If you notice something suspicious, Orr suggests you call the Cook County legal hotline: 312-603-0236 or call center: 773-801-2050.

“The person [suspected of voter fraud] should be given the benefit of the doubt. We always ask our judges to call downtown in case there are any records we may have. But again, in [most] cases, someone is not trying to commit fraud...and there can be human error.”

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