Your Guide to the 2018 Illinois Midterm Elections - NBC Chicago
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Your Guide to the 2018 Illinois Midterm Elections

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The 6 Most Valuable College Majors

    Editor's note: As votes are counted across Illinois tonight, you can track election results LIVE right here.

    Election Day in Illinois is here, with voters across the state heading to the polls. Here's a look at some essential resources to help you prepare for the big day —

    WHAT ARE THE RACES TO WATCH? 10 Races to Watch in Illinois' Midterm Elections10 Races to Watch in Illinois' Midterm Elections

    SEE WHO'S ON YOUR BALLOT

    Enter your address below to find out who your representatives are, and who's running against them.

    For a full sample ballot, be sure to visit your local election authority's website.

    WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR?

    There are four candidates running for Illinois governor: incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, Libertarian Kash Jackson and Conservative Sam McCann. Click here to read a profile of each of them — These Are the Candidates Running for Illinois GovernorThese Are the Candidates Running for Illinois Governor

    The race has been contentious, to say the least. To help cut through the noise, we asked all four candidates 11 of the most important questions to help inform voters on who they are and where they stand on certain issues. 

    Click through to find each candidate's answers as they were submitted, on everything from pensions to priorities, taxes to term limits and much more — On the Issues: Candidates for Governor Answer 11 QuestionsOn the Issues: Candidates for Governor Answer 11 Questions

    WHO'S ENDORSED?

    If you're still undecided, it can be helpful to known who's backing whom. Click here for a breakdown of Illinois publications and their endorsements.

    WHAT QUESTIONS WILL BE ON THE BALLOT?

    Nearly every election includes some sort of referendum, and this year is no different. In addition to voting for your candidates, you can weigh in on issues specific to your municipality. Click through to find the questions that will be asked of Chicago voters, suburban Cook County voters, and voters in suburban counties

    HOW TO RESEARCH JUDGES ON THE BALLOT

    A majority of the names on the ballot in Cook County this election are judges. The Circuit Court of Cook County deals with millions of legal cases every year, on everything from crime to civil lawsuits, divorce, adoption, eviction, traffic tickets, workers' compensation, wills and more - if it involves the law, it goes through the court system.

    Two-thirds of the roughly 400 judges in Cook County are elected - either countywide or on a subcircuit, which is a particular portion of the county, similar to a district. The remaining one-third of judges are appointed by other judges.

    Those elected by the general public serve six-year terms, at which point they're up for a vote on whether or not to retain them. This year, there are 39 open seats and 61 judges up for retention, including a state appellate court judge and a state supreme court judge.

    There are plenty of resources to help you decide who to vote for and who to retain, including evaluations of each judge by several local bar associations (organizations made up of attorneys). You can find those recommendations on judges' qualifications from organizations like the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Illinois State Bar Association, among several others, on voteforjudges.org.

    For a more in-depth analysis, Injustice Watch has compiled information on each judge, including which division of the court they're in, any noteworthy cases, a record of reversals of their rulings, how harsh or lenient they tend to be in sentencing, and more.

    WHERE TO VOTE EARLY

    If you want to avoid the rush and cast your ballot before Election Day, you have plenty of options. Here's the full list of early voting sites across Chicago, suburban Cook County and the area's suburban counties. 

    With the exception of Will County, if your county offers multiple early voting locations, you can pick whichever one is most convenient for you.

    HOW TO FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE

    If you prefer to cast your ballot on Election Day, you have just one option: your designated polling place. If you don't know where that is, enter your address below to find it, as well as other information you'll need on Election Day — 

     

    You can also click here to search for your polling place (and make sure you're registered) through the Illinois State Board of Elections' website, or your individual county's website. 

    WHAT TIME POLLS ARE OPEN

    Polls open at 6 a.m. statewide, and will stay open through 7 p.m. But remember - if you are IN LINE when polls close, you can still vote! So if you're rushing to your polling place at the last minute, don't worry if you see a line - and don't let anyone try to dissuade you from casting your ballot. 

    WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING

    While a government-issued photo ID is not required to vote under Illinois law, it can be helpful to bring one should any questions about registration, address, signature, or more arise during the voting process.

    It's important to remember: you legally do not need any form of identification to cast your vote in Illinois, unless you are registering for the first time or changing your registration. 

    NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE? 

    If you're not registered in Illinois but still want to vote, it's not too late! You can take advantage of grace period registration through Election Day. You simply have to bring two forms of identification, one with your current address, to your polling place and be prepared to vote at the same time.

    SHOULD YOU TAKE A BALLOT SELFIE?

    NO. In Illinois, ballot selfies are prohibited by state law. It's a felony to mark your ballot so another person can see how you voted, carrying a potential prison sentence of one to three years.

    State election officials have said it's "unlikely" anyone would be prosecuted for a ballot selfie, but you should play it safe and take a picture of your "I Voted" sticker or pose next to the polling place sign instead.

    WHAT TO DO IF YOU RUN INTO PROBLEMS

    While millions of people will cast their ballots without any problems, some may be challenged on their voting eligibility, experience voter intimidation, or have trouble at their polling place.

    If you run into any issues at all, or even have questions about the process, you are encouraged to call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (English only), 888-VE-Y-VOTA (English/Spanish) and 888-API-VOTE (English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tagalog).

    The hotline is run by a nonpartisan coalition of more than 100 organizations, led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

    HOW TO GET LIVE RESULTS

    Live Election Day coverage will air on NBC 5 throughout the evening and at 10 p.m. You can also track up-the-minute race results live in the NBC Chicago app - where you can turn on notifications to get alerts on winners of the biggest races - and right here on NBCChicago.com.

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