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posted: 2/28/2014 5:30 AM

Two weeks before Election Day, early voting starts

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  • Video: Seth Rogen's Alzheimer's talk

 
 

If you've had enough, you can be done Monday.

The ads.

The sniping.

The scandals that are tough to even understand.

It can all be over.

Traditional early voting in the primary election starts Monday.

So if you have something to do March 18 -- or otherwise need an excuse to get out of work for a few minutes -- you can go cast a ballot in person well in advance, then press fast-forward on your DVR during political ads guilt-free the rest of the spring.

You can consult the website of your county clerk or local board of elections to find out where to vote early.

But ...

The downside is the regret that can set in if you vote early and your favored candidates do something to betray your faith before Election Day. You can't take early votes back.

Voting postal

No one particularly expects a spike in traditional early voting this year. After all, it's been around Illinois long enough that people know about it.

Now that Illinoisans can vote by mail without needing an excuse -- and many can go online to request a ballot be sent to them by mail -- officials expect that method to take off, particularly in the Nov. 4 general election.

Voting absentee via mail started weeks ago.

"We now have Election Day for 40 days," Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said.

Absentweet

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, posted a photo on Twitter Wednesday with stoner comedy star Seth Rogen, who was in Washington, D.C., to testify about the need to keep fighting Alzheimer's disease.

Rogen tweeted back, saying: "(P)leasure meeting you. Why did you leave before my speech? Just curious."

Kirk responded that he had a meeting with space hero and Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell but watched Rogen's testimony later. "Keep in touch," Kirk said.

Rogen, who needled most of the Senate committee he testified before for leaving early, responded: "(S)ymbolically, it hurts the cause to see that many empty seats. Wish you hung around. Nice meeting you."

Kirk later posted a photo of Lovell introducing him to Adler Planetarium President Michelle Larson.

Only in Illinois

An analysis of the legal merits of an AFL-CIO bid to keep Winnetka Republican Bruce Rauner from giving money to his own campaign is best left to someone else, but it's yet another twist in the roller-coaster primary race for governor.

The background: Campaign contributors to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich were ending up with lucrative state work. Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes helped lead a push to a 2008 law that banned people who wanted state contracts from giving campaign donations to candidates who could eventually control those contracts, an attempt to quell so-called pay-to-play politics.

The AFL-CIO argues Rauner is breaking that rule by giving his own campaign money.

His investment firm did work managing state pension funds. And he's running to be governor, the official who is ultimately responsible for most state contracts.

The one-time contractor -- Rauner -- is giving campaign cash to the would-be contract holder -- also Rauner.

Is that a conflict of interest?

These are the kinds of questions you could have avoided if you'd already voted by mail.

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