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updated: 11/8/2016 12:14 PM

What you need to know to vote on Election Day

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  • Early voters, like this crowd Monday in Arlington Heights, set records in Illinois. The last chance to vote is today, when polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Early voters, like this crowd Monday in Arlington Heights, set records in Illinois. The last chance to vote is today, when polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Early voters, like this crowd Monday in Arlington Heights, set records in Illinois. The last chance to vote is today, when polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Early voters, like this crowd Monday in Arlington Heights, set records in Illinois. The last chance to vote is today, when polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

Voting is not always as simple as it sounds. This presidential election, in particular, has raised questions about what is and isn't allowed. Here are some answers to help your trip to the polls go smoothly.

• Can I take a selfie, or photos, in the voting booth?

Technically, it's illegal. A law on the books, which predates cellphones, makes it a felony in Illinois to "knowingly" mark your ballot so that another person can see it. The intent was to protect voters from coercion. It might be unlikely you'd be prosecuted, but it's still disruptive. Other voters who notice your phone camera click or flash don't like it, because they're afraid they're being photographed, said Illinois State Board of Election general counsel Ken Menzel. "There's a polling place sign outside the door. Do your selfie with the polling place sign. That way you're being considerate to everyone else," Menzel said.

• Can you bring in phones or newspapers?

Newspapers, yes (so feel free to bring the list of Daily Herald endorsements). As for your cellphone, it depends. There is no state law prohibiting cellphones, Menzel said. But local authorities can set rules, and some suburban polling places reportedly aren't allowing phones, so it's best to do your research and write down your picks before you arrive. You're not allowed to make or receive phone calls while inside the polling place. If you make a phone call and slip into a conversation about the candidates, it's considered electioneering, which is illegal.

• Do you need to bring a photo ID?

It is not required to vote in Illinois and should not be requested for the vast majority of voters. But there are special circumstances in which you might be asked to provide identification, such as if you've registered with a mail-in form and your registration was never verified.

• Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Yes. Thanks to a new statewide law, there should be voter registration in your polling place. You'll need two forms of ID to register, including one that shows your address.

• If you see something that's unusual or concerns you, what's the best way to report it?

Point it out to the election judges or talk to the site manager. If they're busy or you're not satisfied, call your county clerk's office, the Illinois attorney general's office at (866) 536-3496, or your county's state's attorney's office. In Cook County, the county's election hotline is (312) 603-0236.

• Where do I go to vote?

If you're not sure, go to https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx. Along with registration, you'll find your polling place and races that will be on your ballot.

• I don't have internet access. Who do I call with other questions?

The Illinois Board of Elections can answer your questions, or at least point you in the right direction. Call them at (312) 814-6440.