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updated: 2/27/2012 1:18 PM

Early voting for primary starts today

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  • Early voting for the March 20 primaries starts across the suburbs today and runs through March 15.

    Early voting for the March 20 primaries starts across the suburbs today and runs through March 15.
    Daily Herald file photo

Daily Herald staff report

Voters eager to fulfill their civic duty can cast early ballots for the March 20 primary starting today through March 15.

The past several weeks suburban officials have made special efforts to remind voters of the many ways to vote in the Republican and Democratic primaries.

Voters can check with local county clerks' offices to find early voting locations and hours.

In suburban Cook County, there are 42 early voting sites in places like village halls and libraries. There are 20 sites in Lake County, 15 in Kane and 10 locations in both DuPage and McHenry counties.

Last Tuesday was the last standard day for suburban voters to register to vote in the primary, but a grace period for registering will continue until March 13.

Someone who registers with their local county clerk or election authority during the grace period cannot vote on Election Day. Instead, they have to vote when they register during the grace period.

For the first time in Illinois history, all voters are eligible to cast primary votes by mail. Suburban voters can download applications from their county clerk's websites, or pick them up at various office locations. The last day to request a mail ballot is March 15.

Upon receiving a mail ballot application, the clerk's office verifies the voter's registration and signature and then mails the ballot to the voter. After the voter makes his or her choices and fills out the certification form on the return envelope, the ballot must be mailed to the clerk's office with a postmark no later than March 19.

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