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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

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A Guide for First-Time Voters

Graphic+courtesy+of+Emma+Stadolnik+via+Canva.
Graphic courtesy of Emma Stadolnik via Canva.

Illinois will hold both its Democratic and Republican Presidential Primary Elections this Tuesday, March 19th. The Illinois State Primary Election will also occur on this day. Current 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the day of the General Election this upcoming November 5th are eligible to vote in the primaries.

Although students may be unaware of how to register or feel as if their young voice does not have an impact, everyone should know how and where to vote should they want to.

“I absolutely do think students should vote. Their voice is as important as any other citizen and they should exercise their right to vote so that their points of view are represented,” said AP US History teacher Mrs. Cindy Collier. 

Step 1: Register to Vote + Locate your voting location

If one wants to register to vote online, they must do so prior to 28 days before the election. If you are not already registered, you must visit an in-person site.

You can register to vote in-person at Lake Forest City Hall starting March 4th through March 16th. To register, you must show two forms of personal identification, one of which must have a home address on it. Drivers license, vehicle registration forms, bank statements, and paychecks are all acceptable.

Step 2: Inform yourself on the ballot

Many young citizens may refrain from voting if they feel like they are not well-informed enough to make the required decisions. However, there are many resources available in order to educate voters on what will be present on the ballot.

“Some students feel like they need to know about every race or issue on the ballot, but you always have the option of leaving parts of a ballot blank. So, even if you only know about one or two races that you would vote in, you should still vote,” said Collier.

In a world where the media is becoming increasingly polarized, it is necessary to use resources that refrain from bias as much as possible when researching what candidates to support.

Ballotpedia provides users useful, up-to-date information about upcoming elections.  They also have a feature where the user can enter their address to see a sample of what will be present on the ballot come election day.

Ballotpedia’s example ballot for a Lake Forest citizen.

Lake County has three categories that voters will be selecting come election day. These include voting for the President, Congressional Representative (District 10), and Illinois House representative.

Step 3: Voting Day

Each state has differing rules on whether a voter must be affiliated with a specific political party in order to vote in that party’s primary. Illinois has a “semi-open” primary election, meaning that the voter does not have to be registered with a political party in order to vote in their primary, but the voter must state which party’s primary they want to vote in when they are at their polling location.

Once you are registered, you should locate the most convenient location to vote. Many resources exist helping users find the closest polling location to their homes. In Lake Forest, locations such as Woodlands Academy, Christ Church, and Gorton Community Center will act as polling locations. In Lake Bluff, the Lake Bluff Park District will act as a polling location. Polling locations open at 6.A.M on election day and will close at 7 P.M.

Once registered, you do not need to provide identification when voting at the polling location. If you want to register to vote at your polling site on election day, you can, but only at specific locations. You will have to verify your signature at the polling location in order to cast your vote. 

It is important to note that voters are allowed to bring information with them into the booth in order to inform them about which candidates to choose, should they want to prepare.

This year’s primary elections will be many junior and senior students first time exercising their right to vote, a right that can have a direct impact on the future of the country.

AP Government teacher Mrs. Cheryl Kyrais said, “Of course students should vote. That is our duty as citizens of this country, to vote.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Stadolnik, Editor-in-Chief
Emma Stadolnik is a senior and is so excited to be returning to The Forest Scout, this time as an Editor-in-Chief! Around LFHS, you can find her on the volleyball court as captain of the varsity team, or at GIVE club! She enjoys singing to country music, spending time outside, and listening to good podcasts. Edit
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  • J

    Jason KowalskiMar 14, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    This is a nice informative guide. Good job.

    By the way, the Lake Forest City hall is an early voting location until Sunday begins. It’s open from 0900 to 1700 today and Friday, and until 1400 Saturday.

    Reply