JACIL Connections Special Election Edition for October 2012

Article 1:

Grace Period:  You can STILL register to vote!

Even though the official voter registration deadline has passed, it’s actually not too late to sign up to participate in the November 6 election.

“Grace period” registration is an extension of the time for a voter to register to vote or to update their registration information.

Registration is extended from the normal close of registration up through the 3rd day before the election. Once registered, this voter may cast a ballot during this “Grace Period” at the county clerk’s office or at a location specifically designated for this purpose by the county clerk.

Two forms of identification with at least one showing your current residence address is needed when you register in-person.

There are several options for meeting your identification requirements.  Call your county clerk’s office for information on where to go and what to bring. The telephone numbers to contact the county clerks in JACIL’s service area are as follows:

CASS COUNTY - Michael Kirchner, (217) 452-7277

MASON COUNTY:  Bill Blessman, 309) 543-6661

MORGAN COUNTY - Jill S. Waggener, (217) 243-8581

SCOTT COUNTY - Beverley Evans, (217) 742-3178

You can check your voter registration status by means of the Internet by visiting the State Board of Elections website www.elections.il.gov and go to the link called “Am I Registered to Vote In Illinois?”

--Source: Secretary of State Jesse White

Article 2:

Things to know about the voting process by Lynnette Bauer & Andrew Morris, Illinois College

Absentee voting

Absentee voting gives people who will not be around their voting district during the election the chance to still exercise their right to vote prior to Election Day.

Often times those who are overseas for work or are in the military will apply for one. Also college students who are at school in another state or are hours away will often vote with an absentee ballot since the election occurs on a Tuesday which is the middle of the school week.  However anyone can apply for an absentee ballot since they do not require a reason of absence.

You can apply for an absentee ballot from September 27 through November 1 through the mail. If you apply for one in person you have until November 5 to do so.  To receive one you have to apply and then the county clerk will send a form to sign. After the clerk receives your form then they will send the ballot to be filled out.

What is early voting?

           Early voting allows voters to cast their ballot in person before Election Day.

The practice of early voting is legal in thirty-two states, including Illinois.   Anyone who is eighteen or older can choose to vote early.

One reason to vote early is because it is convenient for people who can not make it to their polling places on Election Day.

A reason that the government allows early voting is to increase voter participation and to have smaller crowds on Election Day.

Early voting for Morgan County starts October 22 and continues through Saturday, November 3. The hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday, November 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Early voting in Morgan County take place at the county clerk's office, located on the first floor of the courthouse, 300 West State, Jacksonville.

What is the Help America Vote Act?

          The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is a law signed by President Bush in 2002.

HAVA encourages states to replace punch card and lever voting machines with machines that are more user-friendly. It also provides a way to vote for persons who have vision or hearing loss and allows them to cast a secret ballot.

HAVA also requires that states make polling places and voting machines accessible to all voters, including voters with any kind of disability. 

The Help America Vote Act guarantees that all United States citizens eighteen years of age or older have the same voting experience.

What is a precinct?

A precinct is often times called an election district. Usually certain counties and the larger cities are divided into multiple precincts. Each precinct has a certain place in which everyone in the precinct votes.

On average a precinct is around 1100 registered voters. Each precinct has an election judge that is responsible for the maintaining order. Usually there are multiple judges in each precinct representing each party and sometimes there are some that do not have a party.

They sign in registered voters, explain how to use voting equipment and the proper voting procedure, maintain the integrity of the election and provide the ballots. In many states the election judges are volunteers.

In 41 of the states, high school students are even allowed to be the election judges. In certain states the election judges are chosen by a city, county or state official such as the county clerk.

The election judges receive training before the election starts and are essential in making the election process go smoothly.

What is a polling place?

A polling place is where people go to cast their votes for the election.

Most of the time buildings, such as schools, churches or community centers, were built for other purposes and are used during election day since having a building for just voting would only be used once every couple of years.

The polling place is staffed by election judges, sometimes inspectors and other officials who aid the voters with the proper way to vote and provide the ballots. Specifically there are people called scrutineers that attend that do not favor either party.

Their purpose is to make sure that none of the election judges that side with a specific party influence voters a certain way. This makes sure that the election is as fair as possible. Also there are voting booths to provide privacy while people cast their votes.

Each polling place has residents of a specific precinct voting there. 

What kind of access is required at polling places?

 There are provisions in place at polling places to assist persons with disabilities. These provisions ensure that the polling places are accessible to people with disabilities such as access to the building and to assist with the voting process.

This requires every precinct in the United States to have at least one voting machine or system accessible to people with disabilities. This allows people with disabilities to exercise their right to vote and to have privacy and independence when voting.

What is an incumbent?

Incumbent is a term that is used in politics to describe the person who currently holds office.

The term incumbent is used when talking about who is running in the elections. For example, when describing the two candidates for president of the United States; President Barack Obama would be the incumbent while Governor Mitt Romney is the non-incumbent.

Some people say that they will vote non-incumbent which means that in the 2012 presidential election they will vote for Romney. However, if someone says that they will vote incumbent this means that they are voting for Barack Obama.

It is interesting to note that in the U.S. Senate, 84% of the incumbents have been re-elected at least once.

Article 3:

JACIL co-sponsors Vote Early Day in Morgan County

JACIL is teaming up with Morgan Couty Clerk Jill Waggener to sponsor an Early Voting Day on Friday, November 2.

All registered Morgan County voters are invited to come to the County Courthouse at 300 West State Street in Jacksonville to cast their ballots in the general election. 

The voting will take  place in the County Clerk’s office from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm,

This event will provide a great chance to use the touch screen voting machine with assistance and to find out how easy it is. 

People with vision disabilities can use the head set to vote in private.

An ASL interpreter and JACIL staff will be available all three hours.

 The courthouse is completely accessible using the only entrance at the back door.

For more information, contact Larry at JACIL, (217) 245-8371 (voice/tty).

Article 4:

State Constitution amendment on the ballot November 6

The November ballot includes an amendment that addresses the way pension benefits for public employees can be increased.

The people of Illinois must approve any changes to the State Constitution before they become effective.  The proposed amendment which will appear on the November 6 ballot adds Section 5.1 to the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Constitution.

The new section would require a three-fifths vote of each chamber of the General Assembly (the Senate and the House of Representatives) for a bill that provides a pension benefit increase, except for appropriation bills.

The amendment does not change the pension benefits,  It applies only to how benefits can be changed.

The proposed amendment would also require a two-thirds vote for lawmakers to override a governor’s veto or accept a governor’s proposed changes in a rewrite of pension increase legislation. Currently, it takes a three-fifths vote to override a veto and only a simple majority to accept a governor’s changes.

--Source:  Secretary of State Jesse White

Article 5:

Candidate and party internet website addresses

JACIL is a non-partisan agency and doesn't promote any individual candidate or party. 

We would like to be able to share the views of the candidates regarding issues that are important to  People with Disabilities - unfortunately the position statements that we have found have been too long to include in our newsletter.

Both President Barack Obama and Candidate Mitt Romney have websites where people can learn about their views.  JACIL is listing these websites (and some others!) and  encourages you to search them yourselves to learn how the candidates have proposed policies that may affect  people with disabilities for the  future. 

Democrat’s 2012 Presidential Platform



Republican’s 2012 Presidential Platform



Mitt Romney’s Official Website (Republican)



Barack Obama Official Website (Democrat)



Representative Jim Watson



Senator Sam McCann                        



Website by the National Federation for the Blind.



This site tries to answer fact-based questions.



Check to see if what candidates say is true.


Article 6:

Over voting and under voting

When voting, read the instructions and be aware of the number of candidates you can vote for in each office listed on your ballot.  If you vote for more than the number that can be elected, that is an OVER-VOTE and none of the candidates that you voted for in that office will be counted. 

You are not required to cast a vote for every office listed on your ballot.   However, if you skip an office or vote for fewer than the number that can be elected for an office, that is considered an UNDER-VOTE.

OVER-VOTING or UNDER-VOTING an office does not affect the rest of your ballot.  

Take a minute to check your ballot to be sure you have made the selections you intended.   In order to protect the secrecy of a paper ballot, remember to place it in the security sleeve before taking it to the ballot box.

The optical scan ballot box has an "Error Notification" system that will report if you have OVER-VOTED.  You can decide to correct your OVER-VOTE or to cast your ballot "as is". 

If you use the electronic voting machine, it will also notify you of any OVER or UNDER-VOTING of offices as you go through the ballot.

Source: Illinois State Board of Elections


“JACIL Connections” is published by the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living.  JACIL is organized to serve people with disabilities in Morgan, Scott, Cass and Mason Counties.  JACIL is committed to serving persons with disabilities to gain control and direction of their lives in the home, workplace and community.  JACIL’s goal is to stimulate and promote a growing sense of personal dignity through individualized services designed to provide the tools necessary for maximum independence and community participation.  We invite your comments and suggestions.


JACIL is a Prairieland United Way Agency and a proud member of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.


Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living

15 Permac Road, Jacksonville, IL 62650

Office Hours:  Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

217-245-8371 Voice/TTY  l  217-245-1872 Fax  l  888-317-3287 Toll Free

866-790-5311 Deaf Advocate’s Toll Free Videophone Line

E-mail:  info@jacil.org  l  Website:  www.jacil.org


JACIL - Mason County Office

220 West Main Street, Havana, IL 62644

Office Hours:  Tuesdays 12:30 to 4:30 & Thursdays 8:00 a.m. to noon

309-543-6680 Voice/TTY, 309-543-6711 Fax, 877-759-2187 Toll Free

E-mail:  jacil@casscomm.com