What to do if you get turned away at the polls

Early projections for voter turnout in Tuesday’s midterm elections predict Chicagoans and Illinoisans will hit the polls in droves. The total number of people registered to vote this year — 1.5 million — is the highest in a midterm election since 1982, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. But some voters may inevitably encounter issues at their voting site. Here’s what you need to know if you are turned away on Election Day.

Know your voter ID requirements

If a voter is already registered, and their signature matches the one on file, Illinois residents don’t need to bring an ID to the polls. However, identification is needed to register to vote on-site, to update the name or address on file, or if an election judge challenges a residents’ right to vote.

One form of ID will be required if the election judge challenges the citizen’s right to vote and if a voter submitted mail-in registration form that didn’t have Illinois identification. driver’s license number or Social Security number. Two forms of ID will be required for same-day registration, as well as address or name changes.

Acceptable forms of ID include passports, military IDs, driver’s license, state ID cards, college, university, school and work IDs, vehicle registration cards, lease, mortgage and deeds to home, credit and debit cards, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cards, insurance cards, civic, union and professional membership cards, LINK, Public Aid and Department of Human Services cards and Illinois FOID cards. Some forms of mail addressed to voters can also be used as forms of ID: bill, transcript and school report cards, bank statements, pay stubs, pension statements, utility, medical and insurance bills and official mail any government agency. More information can be found on the Chicago Board of Elections website.

Go to the right polling place

If you moved on or before Oct. 7, 2018 from somewhere else to your current Chicago address, vote at the Chicago precinct polling place for your current address. If you moved Oct. 8, 2018 or later from your old Chicago address to your current Chicago address, vote at the precinct polling place for your old address. You may register for the first time or update your registration — and then vote — at your new precinct polling place on Election Day with two forms of ID, at least one of which shows your current address. Voters can find out where they are registered to vote online for suburban Cook County and Chicago.

Take advantage of same-day registration

Illinois has same-day registration, which means residents are entitled to register and vote at the same polling place on the same day. Voters in Illinois can register to vote the day of the election at the polling site assigned to their address. They must bring two forms of ID, including one that lists their address. They do not need to show a photo ID.

Cast a Provisional Ballot

According to the Illinois Board of Elections., provisional ballots can be cast if the following issues arise at a voting site:

• a voter’s registration record can’t be found in their precinct
• a voter is challenged on his or her right to vote by the judges
• a voter doesn’t have an acceptable ID and isn’t able to provide one
• a voter is listed as having cast a ballot in early voting, or through vote by mail, and the voter believes that record is in error and
• a voter is a casting a ballot during a court-ordered extension of hours at polling place

Provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct may not be counted. More information can be found on the Chicago Board of Elections website.

Call an election hotline

A bi-partisan team of election judges will be present at every polling site to help voters with questions. If you see something off on election day, or have questions about the voting process, you can also reach voter hotlines at (312) 269-7870 for Chicago and (312) 603-0906 for suburban Cook County.

Sun-Times reporter Adam Thorp contributed to this story.


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