Election Day is Tuesday, and although many have already taken advantage of early voting opportunities, a lot of voters still are expected to cast their votes in person that day.
Voting and civil rights advocates are reminding the public that even if someone already is registered, it is possible to run into problems at the polls. This can happen, for example, when someone thinks she or he is registered to vote but actually is not. A national nonprofit has a website where you can check your status, if want to know ahead of time.
But let's say you do get to your polling place and actually aren't registered. Or you show up but aren't on the list of those registered in the precinct. Maybe you get there, and your voting status is otherwise challenged by election judges.
"Most of the problems that people call in about are fixable," said Ami Gandhi, director of the Voting Rights Project at the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.
But if you do have a problem, "speak up rather than leave," she said, because in each of these instances, you can still vote. "Stay in your spot, and stay where you are."
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Illinois is one of a minority of states that offers same-day, or grace-period, registration, for those not registered by Nov. 6. Same-day registrants, and those whose status is otherwise questioned, can cast a provisional ballot, which is set aside and only counted if a voter is later found eligible to vote.
"Ask for a provisional ballot, and how to check that it's been counted," said Myrna Perez, director of voter rights and elections at the Brennan Center for Justice.
"Each provisional voter should be provided written instructions on how to follow up after Election Day," according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
A provisional ballot is additionally useful because it provides a record that some voters did encounter issues voting, Gandhi and Perez said.
It's also important to know that you can get help on Election Day, either in person or through "election protection" hotlines, like 1-866-687-8683 (OUR VOTE) staffed by a multilingual, nonpartisan coalition that works through the year to secure equal access to voting.
People "should know they should go out and vote," Perez said. "This is how we make our voices count."