Setting Chicagoans up for a safe and secure election is a tall order in a year beset by a pandemic, post office woes and concerns about voter intimidation.
But Chicago Board of Elections Chairwoman Marisel Hernandez says they’re up to the challenge – and she encourages all those who want to vote to make sure they’re registered, right up until Election Day.
“Any resident of Chicago who’s a U.S. citizen and will turn 18 by Nov. 3 can register to vote online, (at) early voting sites, and on Election Day,” she said. “Our early voting site at the Loop is open and running, the other 50 early voting sites will be open as of Oct 14. You’ll also be able to register to vote online until Oct. 18.”
On the first day of early voting, voters formed a socially distanced line outside the building to cast their ballots. Masks, hand sanitizer and Plexiglas dividers were used there — as they will be at all polling locations — to keep poll workers and voters safe.
Hernandez says that nearly half a million people have requested vote-by-mail ballots, and she urges those who plan to vote by mail to return their ballots as soon as possible to avoid delays in counting.
Voters whose primary language is Spanish can visit the Board of Elections site for information in Spanish; information in several other languages is also available.
After Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed concerns that some people might attempt to disrupt the election, Hernandez says the Board of Elections is ready for that, too.
“I want voters to know that the board regularly meets with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Chicago Police Department and other governmental entities to prepare for this election period, including Election Day,” Hernandez said. “And on Election Day, we will have all of these agencies assisting us along with community organizations and attorneys who will monitor polling places. So we feel confident that we have the security in place for voters to come out and safely vote.”