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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Editorial: Primary elections need your vote

Mary Ngo
A huskie puppy holds a voting ballot in its mouth with its front paws up on a ballot box that reads “Vote!” Primary elections are just as important as general elections, and college students should participate in the upcoming Illinois primary elections. (Mary Ngo | Northern Star)

Primary elections are coming up, and it’s of the utmost importance to vote in them, even as college students.

The Illinois primary elections are the elections that determine who will be on the ballot in November for the general elections.

Tasha Sims, DeKalb County’s county clerk and recorder, said the primary election functions as the bracket to set up the general election. 

“It’s more like a, like a bracket, like a sports bracket,” Sims said. “So, you’ve got your, you know, your two different sides. In this case, your Republican and Democratic ballots, and you have like your teams or your players on each, and each ballot gets voted on, and the winner of each one of those brackets goes to the general.”

For students not from DeKalb County, you have the option of voting in either your hometown or in DeKalb. 

In Illinois, you can register as late as the day of voting. However, if you have voted in DeKalb County before – even as a college student – be sure to update your address. 

“Even if from year to year you might move down the hallway at a dorm, if your number changes, you got to change your voter registration,” Sims said. “But, of course, there is grace period right now, so they, you can register and vote at the same time. And here in Illinois, we have same-day registration, so they do have the option to, all the way up until Election Day, register and have their voice heard here.” 

This year, to encourage voting among young people, there will be selfie stations at some polling locations, and the Holmes Student Center’s Gallery Room will have early voting starting Monday, according to Sims. 

Voting in primaries is critical to the outcome of elections.

“A lot of people like to make this mistake that, because you’re in Illinois, everyone’s gonna vote blue, or your vote doesn’t matter, but that’s not true,” said Alexandra Alcantar, a senior political science major. “I think participating if you’re able to participate by voting is always important.”

Sims said votes in DeKalb have historically been close, making each vote matter. 

“There have been plenty of instances where we have had candidates lose by one and two votes in this county,” Sims said. “So to think that your neighbor or your other friends could have gone and voted and changed, you know, the trajectory of the election, it really makes it known, you know that your vote absolutely does count.”

However, it is important to know who you’ll be voting for and where you can vote.

To find out where your polling location is and see sample ballots, use the county’s online portal that’s accessible via the County Clerk and Recorder website. 

By putting in your name and either the last four digits of your social security or driver’s license number, you can get access to polling places, voter info and sample ballots.

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