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Early Voting Expands, Trump to Visit Southern Illinois – TODAY 10-22-18

Early Voting Options Expand Citywide

Chicagoans wanting to cast their ballots early have many more options to do so beginning Monday. Early voting began in late September at one “super site” in the Loop, located at 175 W. Washington Street. On Monday, early voting locations opened up in all 50 wards across the city. In addition, four university locations will open up for early voting on October 31st.

Chicago’s early voting ‘super site’ at 175 W. Washington. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Though online voter registration closed on Sunday, people who aren’t registered to vote can still do so at an early voting site. According to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, any voter who needs to register for the first time or file an address update or a name change must show two forms of ID, one which has their current address.

Some 1.4 million people cast early ballots in 2016, and nearly half a million voted early in 2014. Election officials advise going to the polls sooner rather than later, and bringing a sample ballot along.

“We want to emphasize three key points about in-person Early Voting,” Election Board Chairwoman Marisel A. Hernandez said in a statement given to NBC5. “First, the first week of Early Voting is always the best for beating the traffic. Lines get longer in the second week. Second, you may register or update your registration when you come to Early Voting. Third, keep it simple: review your sample ballot and make a cheat sheet that you can bring with you to Early Voting or on Election Day.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, more than 172,000 ballots have been cast statewide, with more than 25,000 of those coming from Cook County and more than 47,000 coming from the collar counties. Registration is also up in almost every county surrounding Chicago.

Dozens of locations also opened up for suburban voters in both the city and the suburbs.

You can find the full list of sites and hours for early voting in Chicago at the Board of Election Commissioners website, and a full list of sites and hours for the rest of Cook County at the Clerk’s office.  

Trump to Visit Southern Illinois

President Donald Trump will headline a campaign rally for downstate Republican Rep. Mike Bost on Saturday in southern Illinois.

Bost is in a heated race with Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly, who trails the Republican by a single percentage point in the polls and has so far raised more than $1 million, double that of Bost.

The rally will take place at 4:30pm at the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro. Initially, the rally was rumored to potentially be taking place at an area at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Activists in that city began to mobilize to organize protests, with at least one planned during a local city council meeting, which Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry then cancelled.

“I had credible indications that there will be multiple acts of civil disobedience at next week’s council meeting,” Henry said in a statement given to The Southern Illinoisan. He said that demonstrations planned by both Trump loyalists and critics would “make it extremely difficult to conduct the public’s businesses.”

One local community center also said they’d been targeted with threats from an openly fascist white nationalist group.

“The Flyover Social Center, our community space dedicated to freedom, dignity, and equality in southern Illinois, has received a business card from Patriot Front, a fascist group that seeks to intimidate and terrorize women, people of color, immigrants and leftists,” the group wrote in a Facebook post over the weekend.

Trump has shied away from visiting Chicago itself ever since he decided to cancel his appearance at a scheduled campaign rally during the 2016 election at the UIC Pavilion, which saw massive protests both inside and out. Afterward he made appearances in suburban Bolingbrook and Bloomington. His first visit to Illinois as President was in Granite City over the summer.

A protester tears a Trump sign in half during a 2016 campaign rally where Trump cancelled his appearance at the UIC Pavilion. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Bost said he was “honored” to have Trump visit the area. “President Trump enjoys wide support in Southern Illinois for good reason,” he said in a statement according to the Belleville News Democrat. “I’ve worked with him to bring 800 steel jobs back in Granite City, reform the VA and give working families a $2,200 tax cut.”

Kelly released a statement as well, according to WPSD6. “Unlike Mike Bost, I will work with any President and members of any party to help Southern Illinois,” he said. “I welcome the President’s visit so he can see for himself how little Mike Bost has done for Southern Illinois after 35 years in office.”

Governor Bruce Rauner, who’s mostly been evasive when it comes to Trump during his presidency with the exception of appearing at an event with Vice President Mike Pence, said he would try to meet with the president during his visit.

“His schedule is very hectic as is mine. But we’re trying to overlap,” Rauner said at a campaign stop in Wood Dale, according to the Sun-Times. “I look forward to getting together with the president if we can — talk about trade, talk about immigration and some of the other policies that are very important for Illinois.”

Rauner has been trailing his Democratic rival JB Pritzker in the polls, and appearing with Trump could rally some conservatives who might be less energetic about the governor’s campaign, or looking at his other right-wing rivals state Sen. Sam McCann and Libertarian Kash Jackson.

Pritzker, who along with Democrats in Illinois have long tried to make closer ties between the governor and the President seized on the opportunity, calling the move “desperate.”

“Illinoisans are disgusted by Donald Trump, but Bruce Rauner is so desperate that he’s begging Trump for a photo-op just weeks before the election,” Pritzker campaign spokesperson Jason Rubin said in a press release emailed to TCR. “This is a Hail Mary from a failed governor willing to abandon Illinois families and communities to try and save his flailing campaign.”

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