Polls open for early voting in DeKalb

By Scott Nicol

Polls for the general primaries open for early voting today, with the ballot consisting of the presidential primaries and any open seat in local and state government positions.

Daejzonna Muschamp, senior political science major and BallotReady intern, said being informed on the candidates’ policies is not a requirement, but students should take time to research the candidates before voting.

“[Students] are so disengaged from politics most of the time,” Muschamp said. “I believe most NIU students receive their political information through social media, whether it be Facebook or Twitter. If [students] are going to use social media to get [their] news, whether it be political or other issues, make sure it is from a credible source such as the Washington Post or The Hill.”

Students may register via mail, online at Vote.Illinois.gov or in person at different locations including schools and city and village offices, said Kiranjit Gill, SA director of Governmental Affairs.

A group of student and community volunteers met Monday for a BallotReady and political science department sponsored Civic Hackathon to gather more information on the candidates to share with students, Muschamp said.

The purpose of the hackathon is to conduct as much research on candidates running for state office to further inform voters on the candidates backgrounds, Muschamp said.

The members of BallotReady created a database on their website to easily share the political information they have attained throughout their research. The members are constantly updating the information, Muschamp said.

BallotReady provides free, nonpartisan background information on every candidate and referendum on voters’ ballots across the country, according to the BallotReady website.

Nearly 54,000 citizens of DeKalb County were registered to vote during the 2012 general primaries, but only 12,534 casted their vote, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Students not already registered to vote must do so by Feb. 16 to vote in the general primaries.