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Registering Late and Voting Early in Cook County

Oct. 13, 2008 – Did you forget to register to vote?  You don't have to give up on participating in this important election yet! Though the official deadline to register to vote was this past Tuesday, Oct. 7, Chicago voters have one last chance under the grace period option.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will offer grace period registration and voting from Wednesday, Oct. 8, through Tuesday, Oct. 21.  This will give Chicagoans who are eligible to vote, but who missed the registration deadline one last opportunity to participate in the Nov. 4, 2008 General Election.

"Under this newer provision of the state election code, eligible voters may still register or update their records and vote, but only at Election Board headquarters," said Chicago Election Board Chairman Langdon D. Neal.

Chicago voters who utilize the grace period must register and vote at 69 W. Washington St., Suite 600. The grace period must be closed on Tuesday, Oct. 21., under state law.

Unlike voters who registered by the Oct. 7 deadline, voters who update records during the grace period cannot vote at their polling places on Election Day, or in the Early Voting program.

Also, the identification requirements are stricter than for voters who mail in their registration before the Oct. 7 deadline. When registering during the grace period, you must to show two valid pieces of identification, with at least one showing your current residence address.

Grace period registration is one program that gives Chicagoans fewer excuses for not voting, but there are others. For those who did register by Oct. 7, but are worried they won't have time to vote on Election Day, early voting starts Oct. 13.

Unlike those who vote by absentee ballot, voters need no excuse to vote early.  There is one early voting location for each ward in Chicago, and 44 early voting sites in suburban Cook County.

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