WINNETKA, IL — Early and mail-in voting are shattering records across country, including in the suburbs of Chicago. More than a half-million mail ballots have been sent out to voters in the Cook County suburbs, nearly 10 times as many as had been requested by this point in the previous presidential election and nearly four times as many people had already voted early.
An additional 46 locations opened Monday for voters looking to cast their ballot in person ahead of the Nov. 3 election. All Cook County municipal district courthouses, including in the Old Orchard courthouse in Skokie, as well as county offices at 69 W. Washington St. have been open for early voting since Oct. 7.
As of Monday morning, about 12,000 people had voted early in person and more than 27,000 voters had already returned their mail-in ballots, according to data compiled by the Illinois State Board of Elections. According to the Cook County Clerk's Office, over 21,000 more people had voted in-person early as of about 5 p.m. Monday.
According to state data, fewer than 400 people had cast mail-in ballots and only 3,110 people had voted early as of Oct. 18, 2016. At that point in the presidential election four years ago, 55,238 suburban Cook County voters had requested mail ballots, compared to 510,599 as of this week.
Whether you plan to vote by mail or in person, here's everything you need to know about casting your ballot as a New Trier Township resident.
Not sure if you're already registered to vote? You can find out here. If you are not already registered, you may do so in person at early voting locations.
Grace period registration and voting extends the registration period by allowing voters to register and vote up until Monday, Nov. 2, the day before the presidential election. Voters may register to vote during the grace period at any Cook County early voting location, but must cast their vote immediately upon registration.
Do you have questions about what you will need to register to vote? Check out this Patch.com article to make sure you are all set: Voter Registration 2020 In Illinois: 5 Things To Know.
If you're voting by mail
Voting by mail is available to all Illinois voters before Election Day. Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot through the mail or in person.
Everyone who has voted in any election since November 2018, and who has registered to vote or has updated their voter registration since March 18, 2018, was sent an application to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
The first day to file an application to vote by mail was June 16. The last day is Oct. 29.
Those wishing to request a ballot in suburban Cook County can download an application or apply online. If your identity is not on file with the clerk's office, you may update your voter registration by calling 312-603-0946.
What to do with your mail-in ballot
Ballots will come with a return envelope and can be returned by mail. Those who have concerns about their ballots being shipped via the U.S. Postal Service can also drop off completed ballots at drop boxes across Cook County. The clerk's office has a drop box finder available online.
The drop boxes will be at locations staffed by clerk's office employees and will be emptied every day, according to the Cook County Clerk's Office website.
One box is located at the early voting site at Centennial Park, 2300 Old Glenview Road in Wilmette, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Boxes in nearby communities are located at early voting sites: Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. in Evanston, Glenview Village Hall, 2500 E. Lake Ave. in Glenview, the 2nd District Municipal Courthouse at 5600 W. Old Orchard Road in Skokie, and the campus of Oakton Community College, 7701 Lincoln St., also in Skokie.
Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, or they will not be counted. If a ballot envelope is placed in a mail drop box on or near Election Day, that envelope may be postmarked late and will not be eligible to be counted.
There are 51 early voting locations in suburban Cook County, including Centennial Ice Rinks, 2600 Old Glenview Road in Wilmette.
A list of all early voting locations is available on , which also offers an early voting wait time viewer. Wait times were more than 75 minutes at every suburban Cook County early voting site Monday afternoon.
Early voting sites will be open during the following hours:
8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 19 to Oct 23
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pct. 24 and Oct. 25
8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct 26 to Oct. 30 and Nov. 2
Oct. 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 1: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 2: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voting in person: Safety Precautions Amid COVID-19
Where to vote: Find your polling place here (you can also find this and a sample ballot on your county clerk's website).
If you've voted in Illinois before, you don't need to provide ID to vote
You may need an ID if:
You registered to vote by mail and did not provide ID
An election judge challenges your right to vote.
If you are also registering to vote or changing your registration address on the day that you vote
If you are already in line to vote when the polls close, you still have the right to cast your ballot
Staying safe: Aside from wearing a mask and staying 6 feet away from other voters, you can also minimize risk by voting early to avoid long lines to vote.
Who's On My Ballot?
Depending on where you live in New Trier Township, not every ballot will be the same. You can view your sample ballot by entering your address and information on the county clerk's website.
In addition to voting in presidential, congressional, senatorial and some state and local races, Illinois voters are being asked to vote on the Graduated Income Tax Amendment.
A "yes" vote supports repealing the state's constitutional requirement that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and instead allow the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax.
A "no" vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to require that the state personal income tax be a flat rate and prohibit a graduated income tax.
Presidential race: While the ballot contains candidates from the Green Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, American Solidarity Party and Libertarian Party, the major party candidates are Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence versus Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. Check out White House Patch for the latest coverage on the election.
And, while she might not be leading in the polls, this year's Libertarian candidate, Jo Jorgensen, is a native of the north suburbs. You can read more about her here: Lake Co. Native Is Libertarian Party's Presidential Pick.
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin faces off against Republican Mark Curran, Green Party candidate David F. Black, Libertarian Danny Malouf and Willie Wilson, of the Willie Wilson Party.
Cook County Races To Watch
Cook County State's Attorney: Incumbent Democrat Kim Foxx faces Republican Patrick 'Pat' O'Brien and Libertarian Brian Deenehy
Clerk of the Circuit Court: Democrat Iris Martinez runs against Republican Barbara Bellar for the seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown.
Sixty-two judges are up for retention this fall, including 10 candidates who are seeking seats on benches for the first time in contested races.
VoteForJudges.org offers non-partisan information on all the judicial candidates. The Chicago Appleseed Fund, the creator of the website, provides research-based evaluations from over a dozen bar associations. VoteForJudges does not endorse judges to retain or not retain.
IllinoisJudges.Net is maintained by the Illinois Civil Justice League. The ICJL is a coalition of interests in Illinois, including taxpayers, consumers, small businesses, lawyers, doctors, local governments, big businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individual citizens. The coalition fights what it believes to be abuses to the civil justice system. ICJL includes its own ratings, as well as drawing evaluations from bar associations and newspaper endorsements.
Voters are permitted to bring newspaper endorsements, printouts, sample ballots and smartphones to view judicial evaluations into the voting booth.