Friday, January 27, 2006

Early Voting plan for Illinois announced

Illinois is releasing their first guidelines for early voting, to occur in the March 21, 2006 primary election. Early voting will begin on February 27th and end March 16th. This is Illinois's trial run for the November 2006 election. The guidelines can be found here:

Illinois is implementing a mixed system, as is used in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and many other states. "Early voting" will be available at "convenient" locations throughout the counties. There is no indication whether supercenters will be used, or whether voters must cast their ballot in the same precinct that they are registered.

Illinois is imposing an ID requirement for early voters that, interestingly, is stricter than they use for day of election voting. Early voters have to show a government (state) issued photo ID. Good thing to see that the new policy prohibits voting early and on election day! ;-)

Absentee balloting occurs as before, so Illinois has not implemented a no-excuse absentee system. This will be an in-person early voting system with absentee balloting.

I've been talking with the Illinois state elections board, advising them about the levels of early voting they can expect in March and more importantly in November. To their credit, the board has also commissioned a study to test the effectiveness of voter outreach and educational efforts. I'll report on this when these become available.


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