When it comes to voting it may seem like one of the simplest acts to do because all you have to do is fill in a circle, however that is not the case. Voting has changed over the course of each decade from allowing colored people, to vote to allowing women to vote, to changing the age from 21 to 18 and things continue to change.
The question now may be what makes me qualified to talk to you about voting? I have been an election judge since the primary election of 2016, and I have worked a total of eight elections.
The general election of 2020 will be the first election that I do not work since I am away for college. Throughout these past four years, I have voted in every election. I have attended numerous trainings. I have worked every station that you see at your polling place. I have done voter check in, on-site voter registration, ballot distribution and the provisional table.
The last election that I worked was on March 17, during those times the coronavirus was a huge concern. We wiped down every ballot box after it was used and every pen as well. Every voter entered their own ballet into the tabulator. Voting booths were six feet apart and when waiting in line voters were six apart as well. The pandemic is no excuse to not vote. We have held an election during a pandemic before and we can do it again. Just make sure you wear your mask to this one.
Here are my tips and requests you should consider when going to vote.
#1 Get there early. Polling places open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in the state of Illinois.
#2 Expect to wait in line. This may not always be the case but with the pandemic, the number of booths is limited along with space. My recommendation is to go as soon as the polls open
#3 When checking in, please consider that over 90% of election judges are citizens that are now retired. Please be loud and clear when giving them your first and last name
#4 Please follow all signs too allow voting to run smoothly within the polling place
#5 Do not interrupt other voters in their ballot booths
#6 Be kind to your election judges. We love it when you ask us how our day has been so far.
#7 In the state of Illinois it is illegal to ask for an ID when checking in at your polling place. HOWEVER, if the election judge is having difficulty searching your name in the database, I recommend that you give them your ID. Unfortunately, names may be registered incorrectly or in a different format that the system does not recognize. By providing your ID, we can search up the correct name and allow you to vote.
#8 My biggest tip of all is to take your time. You are not being timed, it is not a race, take all the time you need.
#9 May be the most important one; it is illegal in the state of Illinois to talk about the individuals on your ballot when inside of your polling place. If you do so, you will be asked to stop. If you continue, you will be removed by the police and be arrested. You may bring information with you however it cannot be out in public, it cannot be on any clothing, on your head or on your face. You may search up candidates when at your voting booth and can search any other questions on your ballot.
#10 Brag to your friends about voting. Because did you really go and vote if you did not post it on social media?
We are currently living in times where we question if our vote matters and if our vote will be counted. As an eligible voter you have the right to do everything you can to be able to vote. You can register and vote on Election Day, all you will need is two forms of ID, one with your current address. If your polling place is giving you some difficulty, please call your Board of Elections office.
Happy and safe voting!
By: Yasmin Carrillo
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.