LA SALLE COUNTY - Whether you like the current crop of lawmakers in Springfield and Washington, D.C. or would rather see some changes made, the upcoming March 20 Primary Election will be a chance to voice your preferences. Both Republican and Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general and the 16th District congressional seat will be among those decided by voters that day.
Contested races on the Republican Primary Ballot include:
Governor/ Lieutenant Governor - Bruce Rauner (Evelyn Sanguinetti); Jeanne Ives (Rich Morthland)
Attorney General - Erika Harold; Gary Grasso
Representative in Congress 16th District - Adam Kinzinger; James T. “Jim” Marter
Contested races on the Democratic Primary Ballot include:
Governor/ Lieutenant Governor - JB Pritzker (Juliana Stratton); Chris Kennedy (RA Joy); Daniel Biss (Litesa E. Wallace); Bob Daiber (Jonathan W. Todd); Tio Hardiman (Patricia Avery); Robert Marshall (Dennis Cole)
Attorney General - Pat Quinn; Renato Mariotti; Scott Drury; Nancy Rotering; Kwame Raoul; Jesse Ruiz; Sharon Fairley; Aaron Goldstein
Representative in Congress 16th District - Neill Mohammad; Sara Dady; Beth Vercolio-Osmund; Amy “Murri” Briel
State Central Committeewoman 16th Congressional District - Angelique “Angie” Bodine; Christine Benson; Elizabeth Lindquist
State Central Committeeman 16th Congressional District - John M. Nelson; Tom P. Walsh; Arthur Bardsley
Representative in the Illinois General Assembly 76th District - Jill M. Bernal; Lance Yednock
County Clerk - Lori L. Bongartz; Vickey Leadingham
County Treasurer - Nikena M. Baer; Kyle K. Fogle
You can still register to vote
In LaSalle County, grace period registration and permanent early voting is offered through March 19 at the LaSalle County Government Center in Ottawa. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Extended registration and early voting hours are also scheduled for the following days and times: Saturday, March 10 from 8 a.m.-noon; Sunday, March 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; March 12-16 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; March 17 and 18 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Monday, March 19 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
In addition, grace period registration is available on Election Day at all polling places in LaSalle County.
Optical scan ballots
LaSalle County uses a paper, optical scan ballot. To mark the ballot, voters should completely fill in the oval to the left of the candidate of their choice. Pens are provided at the polls.
To cast a write-in vote, find the office for which the candidate is running and print the candidate’s name on the write-in line for that office. Then fill in the oval next to the candidate’s name.
If you mark your ballot incorrectly, fold and seal the ballot in a security envelope provided for privacy and return it to an election judge to receive a new ballot. The spoiled ballot is not counted.
When voters complete their ballot, they insert the ballot into the ballot counter. The ballot is read by the optical scanner and dropped into the metal ballot bin. When the polls close, the tabulator prints the results of all votes cast.
When a voter attempts to cast more votes for an office than allowed, an “over vote” occurs. The ballot counter will beep to indicate the over vote. The voter may then choose to have the ballot accepted (the over voted office will not count) or to have the ballot returned, marked spoiled and receive a new ballot.
Polls in LaSalle County will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on March 20. Anyone having additional questions about voting is encouraged to contact the LaSalle County Clerk’s Office at (815) 434-8202.
While extremely long lines or other obstacles to voting are generally not experienced in less populated areas such as LaSalle County, the Election Protection Coalition is ready to assist voters with any questions or concerns during the early voting period and they will offer live assistance on March 20 beginning at 6 a.m.
Led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Election Protection is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition. They may be reached at their toll-free hotline (866) OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
Voters are encouraged to contact them with questions or if they encounter problems when seeking to cast their ballots.
“The right to vote is the most important right in our democracy. In Illinois, voters will go to the polls in an important primary election and the Election Protection hotline will be answering calls to ensure that all eligible voters are able to freely cast their ballots and have their voices heard,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This hotline is a resource for all voters and would-be voters in Illinois and across the country who seek to report complaints or otherwise access information needed to meaningfully participate in elections in their community.”
Hundreds of attorneys have volunteered to answer calls and monitor the polls in past elections with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which leads the coalition in Illinois. In 2016, nearly a thousand calls were made to the Illinois hotline call center.
“The right to vote in this country was not given easily – it was won slowly with great effort by women, people of color, immigrants, and low-income communities,” said Ami Gandhi of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “Our Election Protection volunteer attorneys are here as a resource for voters facing barriers such as long lines, language barriers, or improper requests for ID, intimidation, registration hurdles, or language or accessibility barriers.”
Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) hotline.
To vote in the March 20 primary, you must be registered to vote in Illinois, and you can register up until and even on Election Day. Election Day Registration is required in all Illinois counties. Not sure if you are registered to vote? To check, go to http://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx.
Voters do not need to join a political party in order to vote in the Illinois Primary Election, but they will be asked to select which party’s ballot they wish to vote on in this election.
About Election Protection
Through hotlines and a dedicated team of trained legal and grassroots volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting. The coalition has more than 100 partners — including Advancement Project, Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, League of Women Voters of the United States, NAACP, National Bar Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, State Voices, Rock the Vote and Verified Voting Foundation — at the national, state and local levels and provides voter protection services nationwide.
For more information about Election Protection, please visit www.866ourvote.org.