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It's time to register to vote

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times

We are less than two months away from a historic election, one sure to generate high voter registration and turnout. Party stalwarts will vote in huge numbers, as will millions of the political independents being courted so vigorously by Barack Obama and John McCain.

Lines will be long. Polling places will rise to the occasion or not. Charges of fraud will arise everywhere.

Sounds like democracy to us -- and we urge you to jump in.

In Cook County, the deadline to register to vote by mail is Oct. 7. The deadline to register in person is Oct. 21.

Nationwide, about 56 million potential voters remain unregistered. Among them, by one estimate, are 8.1 million African Americans, 8 million Hispanics and 7.5 million young voters, ages 18 to 24. In Illinois, voter registration is up. In suburban Cook County, it's up 14 percent since 2004, and in Chicago, more than 127,000 new voters have registered just since the February primary elections. "This is going to be a good year for registered voters," says Cook County Clerk David Orr.

In Illinois, it's possible to avoid the long lines and vote early, without having to give a reason. Early voting for the Nov. 4 election, permitted at designated locations, runs from Oct. 13 through Oct. 30.

Absentee voting by mail still will be allowed, but the voter must provide a reason for being unable to cast a ballot in person.

Military personnel have until Oct. 25 to request their federal postcard ballot.

Register to vote now to reserve your right to complain later.

For more information, go to: www.voterinfonet.com or chicagoelections.com.



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