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Joliet-Plainfield area early voting site needed : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Joliet-Plainfield area early voting site needed

Early voting for the Nov. 6 election is set to begin next Tuesday, Oct. 22. In Kendall County registered voters will be able to cast their ballots early at either the county office building in downtown Yorkville or at Oswego Village Hall through Thursday, Nov. 1.

The Yorkville and Oswego early voting locations and hours are convenient for voters in the northern portion of the county, but significantly less so for the large number of voters who live elsewhere in the county.

For example, the U.S. Bureau of the Census counted 12,600 people-many of voting age-living in the county's NaAuSay and Seward townships in 2010. The vast majority of those county residents live in homes built in the Joliet and Plainfield portions of the county.

According to information provided by the Illinois State Board of Elections, "a major reason for early voting is to encourage greater participation in the election. People who travel for business work long hours or are otherwise inconvenienced by the hours the polls are open may find it easier to vote early."

But, as it stands now, Kendall County's Oswego and Yorkville early voting locations are hardly convenient for the county's Joliet and Plainfield voters. We suspect many voters from those two communities will decide not to vote early when they discover they have to drive to Oswego or Yorkville to vote.

It's too late to make early voting convenient for the county's Joliet and Plainfield residents for the Nov. 6 election, but the county clerk's office can and should correct this situation for future elections.

According to the state board of elections, the county clerk's office has the legal authority to establish both permanent and temporary polling places for early voting in both public buildings such as township offices and temporary branch locations.

County clerks in both neighboring Will and Kane counties have done just that. For example, the Will County Clerk's Office has 26 early voting sites spread throughout the county and three additional sites in neighboring counties. In Kane County, the county clerk's office has established 19 permanent early voting sites throughout the county. In addition, the clerk's office also operates a mobile polling place, which will make 13 stops at Jewel-Osco stores throughout the county between Oct. 22 and Nov. 3.

Will it cost Kendall County money to offer early voting to its residents in Joliet and Plainfield? Absolutely. But county government is in the business of providing services to the taxpaying public as permitted under state law. Early voting is one of those services. Why should early voting be convenient for residents of Oswego and Yorkville, but not for other county residents?

If funding is an issue, we suggest the county use taxpayer money it now uses to pay the health insurance costs for its part-time board members to cover the cost of operating a Joliet-Plainfield area early voting site.

Residents of the Joliet and Plainfield area of the county are as equally entitled to county services-including the convenience of early voting-as the rest of the county's residents.

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