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Should I cast a provisional vote even though my registration is inactive?
October 22, 2012 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I am registered to vote in Illinois, but when I went to check my polling place online it said my registration is inactive. I called to inquire and was told that because I had changed addresses without updating it that my registration is inactive and I was also past the time when I could update it. Should I/ Can I show up at my local polling place and cast a provisional ballot?

I am registered to vote in Illinois, but when I went to check my polling place online it said my registration is inactive. I called to inquire and was told that because I had changed addresses without updating it that my registration is inactive and I was also past the time when I could update it. I'm a little disappointed because I consider myself an involved citizen, but I understand this is my fault. The question is: Should I/ Can I show up at my local polling place and cast a provisional ballot? It would make me feel marginally better to participate in the process and I think it would provide a good example for my 4 year old daughter who I plan on taking with me.
posted by blackjack514 to Law & Government (4 answers total)
 
Illinois has grace period voting (no way to direct link to the State board of elections information about it, but it's here). Basically, if you missed registration, you can register and vote simultaneously now through Nov. 3. Here's where you'd do it in Chicago. If you're not in Chicago, look up your county board of elections and they should have information about how and where to do grace period voting.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would add that I don't believe you would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot in this case. Inactive registration is not a listed reason for provisional balloting, which is for registered voters who have had their registration challenged or who did not provide proper documents when registering. Provisional balloting is also available to people who appear on either early voting or absentee voting rolls, but who claim not to have voted in either case.

Inactive status is not ineligibility to vote, which is what provisional ballots are for: people who may be eligible to vote, but appear to be ineligible to vote. Inactive status is for voters who have not voted in two elections prior to the current one, so the board of elections doesn't know if you've died or moved or should still be assigned to this polling place. Usually, all that is required to go from inactive to active status is to verify with the board of elections that you are who you say you are and that this is your current residence, so you can be assigned the proper polling place. That's not what provisional balloting is for.

I am afraid I don't know if Illinois allows a voter who is "inactive" on the roll to cast a ballot on election day at the appropriate polling place merely by presenting proof of self and proof of address and I could not find it at the State Board of Elections site. However, a call to your county board of elections will clear that up.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:34 AM on October 22, 2012


When, exactly, did you move to your current address, and what county do you live in?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:46 AM on October 22, 2012


Grace period voting (PDF) as noted above is your answer. You are to go IN PERSON before your county electoral board office or at a location that they specify, and file a change of address. After completing this process, you MUST vote early in-person at the county electoral board office OR by mail if they allow you to do so. DO NOT attempt to vote in-person on Election Day.

Do take your daughter with you! She will also learn a valuable bonus lesson about vigorously defending the right to vote.

Sec. 5-50. Grace period and Sec. 4-50. Grace period. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code to the contrary, each election authority shall establish procedures for the registration of voters and for change of address during the period from the close of registration for a primary or election and until the 3rd day before the primary or election. During this grace period, an unregistered qualified elector may register to vote, and a registered voter may submit a change of address form, in person in the office of the election authority or at a voter registration location specifically designated for this purpose by the election authority. The election authority shall register that individual, or change a registered voter's address, in the same manner as otherwise provided by this Article for registration and change of address.
If a voter who registers or changes address during this grace period wishes to vote at the first election or primary occurring after the grace period, he or she must do so by grace period voting, either in person in the office of the election authority or at a location specifically designated for this purpose by the election authority, or by mail, at the discretion of the election authority. Grace period voting shall be in a manner substantially similar to voting under Article 19.
Within one day after a voter casts a grace period ballot, the election authority shall transmit the voter's name, street address, and precinct, ward, township, and district numbers, as the case may be, to the State Board of Elections, which shall maintain those names and that information in an electronic format on its website, arranged by county and accessible to State and local political committees. The name of each person issued a grace period ballot shall also be placed on the appropriate precinct list of persons to whom absentee and early ballots have been issued, for use as provided in Sections 17-9 and 18-5.
A person who casts a grace period ballot shall not be permitted to revoke that ballot and vote another ballot with respect to that primary or election. Ballots cast by persons who register or change address during the grace period must be transmitted to and counted at the election authority's central ballot counting location and shall not be transmitted to and counted at precinct polling places. The grace period ballots determined to be valid shall be added to the vote totals for the precincts for which they were cast in the order in which the ballots were opened.
(Source: P.A. 96-441, eff. 1-1-10; 97-766, eff. 7-6-12.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:07 PM on October 22, 2012


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