Cook County Clerk David Orr and the Chicago Fire’s Jay Nolly visited a Reavis High School soccer practice Wednesday afternoon to promote voter registration and urge students to get involved in the Nov. 6, 2012 Presidential Election.
“If you don’t participate, it’s like your team playing a man short,” Orr said on the school’s soccer field, 6034 W. 77th St., Burbank. “Not registering to vote is like giving yourself a red card.”
Nolly, the Chicago Fire’s new goalkeeper, gave the students soccer pointers and encouraged them to participate in the upcoming election.
“Don't sit on the sidelines this election,” he said. “It is important for people of all ages to vote and participate in each and every election.”
After starting 14 games with Vancouver in 2011, the 30-year-old Orlando native was acquired by the Fire in the offseason and recently moved to the Chicago area. Reavis students, who were trained as deputy registrars before the event, registered Nolly to vote in his new hometown.
Bob Morack, head soccer coach, said it was exciting to host the Chicago Fire at Reavis. “To see professional athletes place such importance on voting,” Morack said, “will really send a message about how truly important this is.”
Reavis social studies teacher Dave Ostendorf said he feels an obligation as an educator to help students understand the fundamental principles of our electoral system. “Voter registration is therefore a crucial step in preparing them to become active citizens in our Democracy,” he said.
Senior Nestor Ruiz was trained to register voters before the event and could not wait to get started. “I just want my classmates to realize if they want to make a difference they have to register and vote!”
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 9.
To register to vote, you must be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day; and a resident of your precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day. Voters who have recently moved must re-register at their current address prior to the deadline.
In this video, Clerk Orr explains who can register to vote, what they need and how to complete the process.
If you want to verify your registration status and see your polling place, use the Your Voter Information tool on cookcountyclerk.com.
Illinois voters can now use an online voter registration application found on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. You must have a printer or provide an email to complete your online application.
Suburban Cook County voters can also print a voter registration application from the Clerk's website, cookcountyclerk.com, or request one by calling (312) 603-0906. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Polish.
After completing the application, prospective voters should return it to the Cook County Clerk's office, 69 W. Washington St., Fifth Floor, Chicago, IL 60602. All applications must be delivered or postmarked by Oct. 9.
Residents wishing to register in person can visit the Clerk's downtown office (69 W. Washington St., Fifth Floor, Chicago), their municipal or township clerk's office, or one of the Clerk's suburban courthouse locations:
North suburbs: 5600 W. Old Orchard Road, Room 149, Skokie
Northwest suburbs: 2121 Euclid Ave., Room 238, Rolling Meadows
West suburbs: 1311 Maybrook Square, Room 104, Maywood
South suburbs: 16501 S. Kedzie Ave., Room 238, Markham
Southwest suburbs: 10220 S. 76th Ave., Room 238, Bridgeview
Prospective voters should bring two pieces of identification to register, including one displaying a current address. Chicago residents should visit chicagoelections.com for more information.
In 2008, the Clerk’s office teamed up with high schools and organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, to register more than 3,000 students to vote.
“We had record-breaking youth involvement for the last presidential election,” Orr said. “We want to encourage students to get excited about the democratic process. It all starts with registering to vote.”
This election, Clerk Orr’s office is working with many schools to train deputy registrars and organize voter registration drives.
High schools: Eisenhower, Notre Dame, Guerin, Glenbrook North & South, Proviso West, Loyola East & West, Riverside-Brookfield, Hoffman Estates,Palatine, and Maine South
Colleges: Governors State, Moraine Valley, Oakton, Harper, Dominican, Trinity Christian, Loyola, Prairie State and Northwestern.
About a dozen Reavis students will also participate in the upcoming election by serving as election judges. The Clerk’s office will have more than 800 high school students working in precincts on Nov. 6.
To learn more about the Clerk’s student election programs, contact Sue Ellen Colón at sueellen.colon@cookcountyil