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What you need to know about 2012 elections in Illinois

  • The Illinois primary is March 20.
The Illinois primary is March 20. (Chicago Tribune file photo )
January 04, 2012|By Georgia Garvey, RedEye

The electoral season kicked off Tuesday night with the Iowa caucus, but the primary race is far from over.

With all the talk of South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire, Chicagoans might be wondering where our presidential primary fits in.

"The peak is really about a month before the election [but] it's starting up now," said Cook County Clerk David Orr, who added that his office is gearing up to send out reminders to political groups on regulations and deadlines. "I hope there will be significant enthusiasm. We'll see."

Here are the details.

WHEN: The primary election is March 20 in Illinois, and early voting starts Feb. 27. The general election is Nov. 6.

WHO: So far, the only Republican candidates who have filed to run in the Illinois presidential primary are Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who squeaked out a win in Iowa over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. Romney filed Tuesday and Paul filed Wednesday. Candidate filing started Nov. 28 and Friday is the last day to file for the office.

HOW: To register to vote, you have to be a citizen, 18 years old by election day and have lived in the precinct you're voting in for at least 30 days before the election. You can register to vote up to 27 days before the election. To register, you need two kinds of ID, which can include a driver's license or credit card.

WHERE: Not sure you're registered? You can check on the state board of elections or Cook County clerk web sites here: http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/voterprofile/Pages/default.aspx . You can register to vote in tons of places, from the Secretary of State offices to one of the six county clerk locations. Mail-in registration forms can also be sent to you or downloaded from the clerk's web site.

ggarvey@tribune.com | @gcgarvey

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