From a press release we issued this morning:
Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten announced that absentee voting for the upcoming April 5th Consolidated General Election is now open at the County Clerk’s Office. “We encourage anyone who cannot vote at their assigned polling place on Election Day, April 5, 2011 to make every effort to absentee vote in the Clerk’s Office,” said Hulten. The office is located at 1776 East Washington Street in Urbana.
Absentee voting is now available to all Champaign County registered voters. No excuse is necessary. Applications for absentee ballots may be made by mail or a registered voter may vote absentee in person in the office of the County Clerk, 1776 East Washington St., Urbana 61802. If voting in person an absentee applicant’s identity must be verified by presentation of an Illinois driver’s license, Illinois ID card, or another government issued ID containing the applicant’s photograph.
Voters needing to vote absentee by mail may request an application for an absentee ballot by calling our office, mail, fax, through our web site (www.champaigncountyclerk.com), or by email. Requests should be made well in advance of the election in order to ensure enough time for delivery. Voters may contact the Clerk’s office at 217-384-3724 or visit the Clerk’s website at www.champaigncountyclerk.com.
The Consolidated General Election (on April 5, 2011 this year) is the most complicated election we administer. Turnout is a little lower than a General Primary or General Election, but a few issues create unique challenges for our office for this election. The first is that candidates file or caucus with their local election jurisdiction, rather than with our office, so we get information regarding who is running for which offices from our Local Election Officials (LEOs) – City & Village Clerks; School, Community College, Library, Park and Fire Protection District Board secretaries. Our LEOs do a fantastic job, but administering election law is a complex process they face only once every two years. Inevitably, changing laws and a general unfamiliarity with the process cause lots of confusion and lots of questions.
The second complication is the sheer number of jurisdictions and the myriad ways in which they interlock create the need for more than 270 different ballots just for Champaign County. We have precincts that, because of the way the different districts overlap voters’ residences, will have nine different ballots cast in their precinct for April’s election. Creating and managing all these different ballots is a challenge not only for our office, but for our Election Judges in the precincts on Election Day as well.
The third complication is that the April 5, 2011 Consolidated General occurs so soon after the February 22, 2011 Consolidated Primary. Luckily, we had only one race in Champaign County for the Primary, and it wasn’t a close result. If we had more races, or any results had been in question, it would have limited our ability to open voting for all voters this early. The preparations for the Consolidated Primary and Consolidated General also overlap to a great degree, and that is a complicating factor as well.
Regardless of the challenges, we are proud that absentee voting is now open, and hope you will take advantage of this increasingly convenient method of voting.