Voters have several options open to them if they want to vote ahead of Tuesday’s mid-term election.
Sunday is the last day for people to vote early. Some early voting stations are open from 10 to 4 p.m. at the county Administration Building in Woodstock, and the municipal buildings of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and McHenry. Monday is the last day for in-person absentee voting at the County Clerk’s office, meaning voters apply for an absentee ballot in person, and fill it out and submit it on premises.
And for this election, Illinois residents can register to vote on Election Day at the county building or the Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills or McHenry municipal centers.
A state law passed earlier this year mandated county clerks to make Election Day registration available, as well as extend early voting another day and extend its hours. While the Democratic majorities that control the General Assembly called the bill a measure to make sure as many people as possible get to exercise their democratic right to vote, Republicans called the bill a politically-motivated effort to pump up Democratic voter turnout in a tight gubernatorial race.
People registering to vote on Tuesday must present two forms of identification, with at least one containing the resident’s current address, County Clerk Katherine Schultz said.
Polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. The weather forecast calls for likely rain showers and a high in the lower 50s, according to the National Weather Service.
Voters are electing to all statewide constitutional offices, a U.S. Senate seat, all seats in the U.S. and state Houses of Representatives, four countywide offices and half the County Board, voting whether to approve two proposed amendments to the Illinois Constitution, and voting to retain some judges.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, and the ballot includes Libertarian challenger Chad Grimm. Also on the ballot are the constitutional offices of attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer.
Republican Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis is running against longtime Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin for the U.S. Senate, as is Libertarian candidate Sharon Hansen. While polls consider Durbin safe, they also favor the Republican Party’s odds of netting the six seats it needs to retake control of the Senate.
In the 14th Congressional District, which covers most of McHenry County, Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren is running against Democratic challenger Dennis Anderson. Algonquin Township falls in the 6th Congressional District, where GOP incumbent Peter Roskam is running against Democratic challenger Michael Mason.
Three of McHenry County’s representatives in the Illinois House have contested races. In the 63rd District, Republican Steven Reick is running against longtime Democratic incumbent Jack Franks. Republican incumbent David McSweeney is facing a challenge from Democratic challenger Bill Downs in the 52nd District, and in the 64th District, Democratic challenger Joel Mains is running against GOP incumbent Barbara Wheeler. The only local Illinois Senate candidate up for election, 33rd District Republican incumbent Karen McConnaughay, is running unopposed.
Republican candidate Bill Prim is running against independent Jim Harrison for McHenry County sheriff – current sheriff Keith Nygren is not seeking re-election. Republican candidates are running unopposed for county clerk, treasurer, and regional superintendent of schools. Candidates for treasurer and county clerk are replacing longtime incumbents who decided not to seek re-election.
Four of the County Board’s six districts have contested races. Democratic candidates, two of them incumbents, are fielding challenges in districts 1, 3, 4 and 5.
The Nov. 4 ballot also contains five state questions, two of them binding constitutional amendments and three of them advisory referendums.
The proposed amendments strengthen the existing victims’ rights clause and another creates a section protecting voting rights. The ballot also includes three statewide advisory questions asking whether millionaires should pay a special tax to help fund education, whether the minimum wage should be increased and whether prescription drug coverage should be required to include prescription birth control, which is already the law in Illinois. Like the extended voting periods and the Election Day registration option, Republicans allege that the slew of questions are a gimmick to boost Democratic voter turnout.
Voters in Bull Valley and Chemung Township and the River East Library District will weigh in on referendums – Bill Valley and the library want to raise their property tax rates, and the township road district wants to borrow $1.25 million for road work. Voters in one McHenry County precinct in Belvidere School District 100 will vote on whether school board members should be elected at large.
You can learn more about the candidates and issues in the Nov. 4 election at NWHerald.com/election-central.
Early voting stations are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at:
• McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock
• Crystal Lake City Hall, 100 W. Woodstock St.
• Lake in the Hills Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate
• McHenry City Hall, 333 S. Green St.
Polls open at 6 a.m. on Election Day and close at 7 p.m.
Source: McHenry County Clerk’s Office