Early voting for DeKalb County for the 2018 General Election starts tomorrow, September 27th at 8:30 a.m., but only at the Sycamore location in the Legislative Center Gathertorium (200 N. Main Street).
Early voting at the satellite sites in DeKalb, Kirkland, Sandwich and NIU will begin October 22nd. (See complete schedule below.)
“If they’re a registered voter in DeKalb County, any registered voter can come to the Sycamore office, or any of the early voting sites once they are all open, and vote,” said Doug Johnson, DeKalb County Clerk. “It is not precinct specific for early voting.”
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you can still do so at the Dekalb County Clerk’s Office, many banks, libraries, the Department of Motor Vehicles and municipalities in DeKalb County. For information on the Deputy Registrar nearest you, contact the County Clerk’s office at (815) 895-7147.
Before you vote early, be prepared to know the candidates you’re going to be voting for. You can go online to the County Clerk’s website to look at a specimen ballot.
You can also go to the candidates’ websites to educate yourself about them, or to non-partisan candidate info sites like Vote Smart.
As far as historical numbers for DeKalb County early voting, they are dependent on factors such as what type of election it is and what’s on the ballot, said Johnson. More people vote early in a Presidential election as a opposed to a Governor’s election or a Consolidated election.
Here are the raw numbers for early voters at each DeKalb County site for two recent elections:
November 2016 Presidential Election
DeKalb Township Building – 1697
Kirkland – 442
NIU – 1073
Sandwich – 845
Sycamore – 6090
November 2014 Mid-term Election
Kirkland – 201
NIU – 267
Sandwich – 260
Sycamore – 2200
* There was no DeKalb Township early voting site for the November 2014 election.
The Sycamore location always draws more early voters because it opens earlier (Sept 27 this year vs. October 22 for the other sites), and thus is open for a longer period of time.
By law, if you have a population base of a certain size, you must have a permanent early voting site, which in DeKalb County’s case is the Sycamore site. Then you also need to have satellite sites (Dekalb, Kirkland, Sandwich). Also, if you have a university like NIU, then you must also have an early voting site there.
“Here in DeKalb County, we are following what we are required to do,” said Johnson.
As far as the reasons for people to vote early, it is mainly for convenience, since there are more days and hours available to vote early. For instance, early voting sites are open on weekends and until 7:00 p.m. on certain days. Some people might also vote early if they are going to be out of town or unavailable on election day.
Also, because any voter in DeKalb County can go to any early voting site, there may be a site that is more convenient for someone than their precinct site. For example, the DeKalb Township site gets a lot of voters from Waterman, Hinckley and Shabbona. Those people might vote in DeKalb while they are there for work or shopping.
In addition to early voting being convenient, Johnson adds that the system is easy and there are even election judges there to help people understand how to vote.
“Early voting was set up and put into law to increase voter turnout,” said Johnson. “I’d like to see people use it.”November-All-Sites2