It’s election season here in Chicago. Chicago’s municipal election is right around the corner on February 26, 2019.
We asked some of our intergenerational housing residents about the election and what voting means to them.
One of them told us how important it is because “it’s a way to make your voice heard.”
Another resident said, “Everybody needs to put in their opinion and it would be nice to be able to trust our government officials.”
What are the issues?
It is no secret that the Mayor of Chicago has many responsibilities and works to address a number of issues throughout the city. When we talked to seniors who live in our buildings, we heard that there a myriad of priorities for them.
One resident told us addressing crime rates should be the next mayor’s first priority. For one resident schools and school closings were an important issue. Another resident said the next mayor’s first priority should be pensions, housing, and transit service cuts.
One resident said, “The next mayor should be articulate, care about the city, love the city.” Despite our differing views, that is something we can all agree on.
Last month AARP Chicago released the results of a survey of the issues Chicago voters 50+ feel the most passionately about. According to Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP-Illinois, "Voters 50+ in Chicago feel strongly that the next mayor has significant work to do in order to make them believe they can live and age gracefully in the city they call home".
Who's on the Ballot?
There are 14 candidates for Mayor of the City of Chicago. To avoid feeling overwhelmed you can use some of these online surveys from the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ to help you learn more about the candidates, their positions on various issues, and how those positions line up with what your views.
In addition to the Mayor, the City Clerk, City Treasurer, and city council are also on the ballot.
With the number of candidates running, it is possible that we might have a run-off election on April 2, 2019. A run-off is triggered if a single candidate for office does not get the majority of votes (more than 50%).
How to Vote
As we have written about in the past, polling place accessibility is a problem many seniors and people with disabilities face. Not all polling places in Chicago are fully accessible but the Election board does offer alternatives to make sure that voters are able to vote privately and independently, so it's important to be informed about your options.
There are a number of ways that you can vote in the municipal elections. But first things first, make sure you are registered to vote in Chicago, here’s where you can double check that.
- Vote by Mail
Voting by mail is easy and is an option for all registered voters in Chicago. Simply apply for a mail in ballot, which you can do online. Once you receive the ballot simply mark up the ballot and return it to the Elections Board. Here’s more information about voting by mail. Keep in mind that the last day to apply for a mail in ballot is this Thursday February 21, 2019 at 5PM.
- Early Voting
If you are not able to get to the polls on February 26th, you can vote early. One of our residents told us that they vote early to avoid the rush on Election Day. Here’s where you can go to vote early. You can also register to vote at early voting locations.
- Voting on Election Day
Most people prefer to vote on Election Day. You can use this finder to identify where your polling place is. Remember, you don’t need an ID to vote in Chicago unless you are voting for the first time and registered by mail without verification. Polls on the 26th open at 6AM and close at 7PM.
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