You don't need us to tell you why you should vote on Tuesday. After all, it's your property tax bill, your kids' schools, your police protection and other municipal services, your library's funding, your park district's program offerings.
That, in a nutshell, is what's at stake in the upcoming election. Those who are elected will choose how these local governments are run for years into the future -- how much tax money they levy, how many they employ, what priorities are set.
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But while you know you should vote, good intentions can run up against time-crunch realities, making a stop at the polls a tough fit into your schedule on Tuesday, when polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
That's why it's good to know you still have several options to vote before Tuesday -- even if you're not registered. And a few mouse clicks can quickly give you the information you need to choose candidates wisely.
You can vote in person through Saturday at numerous polling places around the suburbs, with closing times on Saturday ranging from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., depending on the location.
Even those who aren't registered can vote through Saturday, with more locations available today and Friday than on Saturday. These "grace period" voters must cast ballots at the same location immediately after registering.
You'll find locations for early and grace period voting in Cook County at www.cookcountyclerk.com, DuPage County at www.dupageco.org/election, Kane County at www.kanecountyelections.org, Lake County at https://countyclerk.lakecountyil.gov, McHenry County at www.co.mchenry.il.us, and Will County at www.thewillcountyclerk.com.
On the county clerk websites, you also can find out whether you're registered to vote, where to vote on Tuesday and what races and candidates will be on your ballot. And, if you often have a hard time getting to the polls, you can even sign up to get future ballots delivered to you for mail-in voting.
Want to know more about the candidates and find out who best represents your interests and priorities? Our election guide at dailyherald.com/news/politics/election includes a wealth of information about contested races, including questionnaires filled out by candidates, news articles and videos, and our editorial board's endorsements.
Voting is everyone's civic responsibility. Beyond that, votes cast in local elections hold particular weight. With relatively few precincts tallying votes in each race, suburban elections have been won by a single vote. And with relatively low turnout expected, a few well-informed voters can offset the chance of a small number of single-issue voters deciding a race.
For all of us living in the suburbs, there's a lot riding on this election. You don't have to miss the chance to have a say in it, even if getting to the polls next Tuesday is difficult for you.