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Voting And COVID-19: County Clerk's Office's Offer Advice
Suburban county clerks provide guidance for those stopping out to the polls on Tuesday, which is primary election day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
PATCH Local
by Amie Schaenzer,

The primary election is today in Illinois and comes at a time when the general public is being urged to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. So, what does that mean for those hoping to stop out to the polls, which are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday?

Lake County Clerk Robin M. O'Connor is offering suggestion for those planning to cast their ballot for primary candidates:

  • Bring your own pen to your voting site
  • Be responsible for your own social distancing
  • Be calm and patient with election workers. They are working a long, hard day to serve you
  • Be kind to other voters casting their ballot

O'Connor is also urging voters to head to their polling place mid-day when there is typically less traffic.

 

"Historically, the busiest times have been in the morning before work and the evening when people are returning home," she wrote in her Monday press release.

 

Meanwhile, across the state many polling sites have relocated in recent days after health and state officials issued new guidelines amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Most of the polling places that moved were originally at suburban nursing homes, senior centers and assisted living communities. In suburban Cook County, nearly three dozen polling places were relocated to the nearest of Cook County's five courthouses, Yarbough said in a statement.

 

In Lake County, seven voting sites needed to be relocated on Sunday and Monday. Due to the ever-changing guidelines regarding COVID-19, voters should check their clerk's office website before heading out to vote to make sure they know where there polling place is.

 

"With what's been happening over the past week, voters have so much information, not all of it true or verified, coming at them from all corners," Yarbrough said. "I cannot stress strongly enough that voters check the verified sources, such as cookcountyclerk.com, for the latest information before heading to the polling place on Tuesday."

 

Here are some of the County clerk's office websites in the Chicago area:

 

Amid all these changes, county clerk's office's are also facing a massive shortage in election judges. Due to COVID-19 concerns, several election judges have opted to stay home instead of work at the polls.

 

Over the weekend, Yarbrough issued a call for voters who want to help this election, offering to waive the training class requirement for new election judges. Anyone who is willing to work Tuesday can fill out an application at the clerk's website and will be paid $150 for their work.

 

"The response to our call for Election Judges has been great and we've been getting new Election Judge applications all morning Monday," Yarbrough said. "If anyone can serve on Tuesday, go to cookcountyclerk.com and fill out the application. And once you are assigned a spot, please show up. We will make this election work."

 

Other county clerks are urging patience during today's primary. While Lake County has been able to replace some of its poll workers, O'Connor said they are "expecting busy voting sites which may cause long lines."

 



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