Time's Running Short For Online Voter Registration, And Other Primary Election Deadlines

Feb 15, 2016

A tight contest for the Presidential nomination and competitive races for seats in the General Assembly could make for a gripping primary in Illinois next month. Deadlines loom if you plan to be a part of it.

Some voters have already mailed in their ballots; early voting began in Illinois on Feb. 4, and runs right up until a day before the primary. A new state law requires early voting open more than a month before elections. Select clerks had trouble meeting that early deadline given petition challenges that first had to be decided, but all should be prepared now, or will be soon.

Of course, to vote early you have to be registered.

Time's running out to do that -- kind of.

If you don't want to have to go anyway to register, hurry: The deadline to register online is Feb 16.

If you miss that deadline, never fear. Grace period registration begins Feb. 17 at select places, then continues through the day of the primary, March 15. There is a caveat: When you go that route, you have to cast your ballot right then and there.

That can prove troublesome if you rush to get it done. Already, some of the presidential candidates whose names you'll see (particularly if you pull a Republican ballot) have dropped out of the race and there could be more of that to come.

Finally, while the voting age in Illinois is still 18, for the first time in a presidential election certain teenagers can take advantage of a law passed in 2014. It allows 17 year-olds to vote in the primary, if their birthdays come before the November 8 general election.