Voters can start casting their ballots Thursday

Can't wait until June 28 to vote in this year's primary? No problem. Early voting starts Thursday.

Voters can head to their local county clerk's office to cast their ballot. Thursday also is the first day election authorities can send vote by mail ballots to voters who requested them.

In Lake, Will and McHenry counties, voters can head to the county clerk's office on Thursday for in-person early voting. In DuPage County, early voting will be held at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester Road, Building 2, in Wheaton. Kane County voters can go to the county clerk's office located at 719 S. Batavia Ave. in Geneva or the satellite office in Aurora at 5 E. Downer Place Suite F in Aurora.

In suburban Cook County, early voting will not start until June 1 due to court challenges for some countywide and state races, said Edmund Michalowski, deputy clerk of elections. On June 1, early voting will be available at the suburban courthouses in Cook County and at 69 W. Washington in Chicago.

On June 13, county clerks will open additional early voting locations throughout their respective counties. A voting super-site for suburban Cook County commuters will open at Union Station on June 14. The Union Station site also will be open on Election Day to any registered suburban Cook County voter.

"We know a commuter's life is as crazy as it gets," Michalowski said, adding that Union Station and Amtrak have been "very accommodating" in making voting accessible for commuters.

Voters throughout the state will cast their primary ballots to determine party nominees for statewide offices, the General Assembly, Congress, county boards and countywide offices.

With this year's primary taking place in June instead of April, voting early may make sense for those who will be on vacation, officials said. Early voting also offers voters a chance to vote when it's convenient for them.

"We just hope that people take advantage of the options and opportunities to access their rights and to be able to vote when they want to," Will County Clerk Lauren Staley-Ferry said.

Voters this year also have the option of making their request to vote by mail permanent. In DuPage County, roughly two-thirds of the requests for mail-in ballots for the primary also included a request for permanent vote-by-mail status. In Kane County, roughly a quarter of the people requesting vote-by-mail ballots asked to make their request permanent. In suburban Cook County, more than 25,000 voters have requested permanent vote-by-mail status.

"People have choices to do what's in their best interest," Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said.

DuPage County also is making it easier for people to cast their ballot on Election Day through a new system that allows on-demand printing of ballots at each polling place. The new system means voters can go to any of the 263 voting sites open on Election Day. In other collar counties, voters must go to their designated polling place or the county clerk's office to cast a ballot.

DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek said the combination of the new system, mail-in ballots and early voting locations helps make casting a ballot easier for residents.

"With everything in place, I'm urging voters to take advantage of it and exercise their precious right to vote," said Kaczmarek, who added that the number of early voting sites has doubled since she took office in 2019.

Voters in Will County will notice changes to mail-in ballots, which will include color-coded envelopes to make the process of sending them in easier, Staley-Ferry said. This is also the first year that ballots in Will County will include Spanish translations.

For additional information about mail-in ballots, early voting locations and hours or Election Day voting, visit county clerk's office websites for Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, Lake County and McHenry County.

  Don't let summer vacation plans keep you from casting your ballot in the June primary. Early voting starts Thursday. Brian Hill/, 2021
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