Lake Forest Library seeks to empower residents to exercise their right to vote, and to be informed about their choices and the media they consume. This non-partisan guide can be used as a way for patrons to find any information they might need to prepare to vote in the 2020 Election.
Jump to a section:
- Important Dates
- Registering to Vote
- Where to Vote in Lake Forest (includes early voting and mail in voting information)
- Fact Checking Websites
- Digital Media Literacy
- Candidates and Issues on the Lake Forest Ballot
- Candidates and Issues on the Illinois Ballot
- Candidates for National Election
- Ballot Information Websites
- Local and National Election Websites
- Campaign Finance Information Resources
- Vote by mail (absentee voting) available: September 24-October 29, 2020*
- Voter Registration Deadline: Tuesday, Oct 6, 2020 (Online by Sun Oct 18, 2020)
- Early in-person voting: Oct 19, 2020 - Nov 2, 2020
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot: mail or online request by October 29, 2020
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot: in-person request by Mon Nov 2, 2020
- General Election Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
- Deadline to return completed Absentee Ballot: post received by Tue Nov 17, 2020*
*In the state of Illinois, mail in ballots that are post-marked on or prior to November 3 will be counted if received within 14 days after the election. However, due to post-office back logs, it may be good practice to send your ballot in earlier than November 3. In addition to mailing your ballot, you can also put it in a secured drop box at an early voting site. The election board recommends this option if you are submitting your ballot within two weeks of the election. The drop boxes will be available starting in mid-October.
Registering to Vote
In the state of Illinois, voters can register online at https://ova.elections.il.gov/?ref=voteusa. You can also update an existing registration with a new address there. Not sure if you are registered? Look yourself up here: https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx
- Fill out the Illinois Voter Registration application at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/sber19.pdf and mail to your local election office.
- The Lake County Clerk’s office, 18 N. County Street, Waukegan during weekday business hours
- The Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Facility when there for other services (please only use this option if you need to visit the DMV for other reasons in addition to voter registration).
- Lake Forest City Hall, 220 E Deerpath
- You can also register during Early Voting or on Election Day.
Requirements in the State of Illinois
- You must be a United States Citizen.
- You must be 17 years old on or before the date of the Primary Election and turn 18 on or before the date of the General or Consolidated Election.
- You must live in your election precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
- You must not be serving a sentence of confinement in any penal institution because of a conviction.
- You may not claim the right to vote anywhere else.
While National Voter Registration day is on Sept. 22, due to uncertainties, there will be limited in-person voter registration opportunities.
Where to Vote in Lake Forest:
Simply enter your address into this Community Portal database to see where your polling location is. You’ll also find valuable information about who your local and state representatives are.
Early voting in Lake Forest
- Available to any Lake County resident who meets all voter registration requirements.
- Starts 40 days before Election Day only at the Lake County Clerk's office.
- Opens county-wide at designated locations 15 days before Election Day.
- Ends the Monday before Election Day.
- You can use any early voting site regardless of where you live.
- Hours and dates vary at the different locations. Some sites offer extended weekend and evening hours.
- No identification is required for voters correctly registered with current name and address.
- Your identity is verified by matching your application signature with the signature on your voter registration record.
- Every site is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and accessible.
- Grace Registration is available for eligible unregistered residents at any early voting site.
Early Voting Sites Open 15 Days Before Election
- Lake County Central Permit Facility
- North Chicago City Hall
- Gurnee Village Hall
- Lake County Main Courthouse
- Lake Forest City Hall
- Jane Addams Center
- William E. Peterson Park
- Fremont Township Office
- Avon Township Office
- Highland Park Country Club
- Zion City Hall
- West Deerfield Township Office
- Ela Township Office
- Antioch Township Office
- Wauconda Township Office
- Lake Barrington Village Hall
Find which location is your preferred early voting site at Lake Count Voter Power.
Mail-In Ballot Voting
As a precaution against unforeseen circumstances, the League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area encourages voters to apply for a vote by mail ballot for the Nov. 3rd General Election. Voting by mail provides a safe, secure, and convenient method of casting a ballot and does not require an excuse or reason.
Because of recent legislation, on August 1st, the Lake County Clerk’s office automatically will mail out a paper Application for Ballot to all who voted in at least one of the last three elections or who registered to vote after the March primary election. Voters who do not receive a paper Application can complete one online. Please visit lakecountyil.gov/4472/Vote-by-Mail-in-November-2020 for more information about voting by mail and other options. To receive a ballot in time, the deadline for returning an application to vote by mail is Oct. 29.
In Lake County, you may apply online to receive your mail in ballot. Choose this option via the Lake County Voter Power website at lakecountyil.gov/351/Voter-Power-for-Registered-Voters.
Starting on September 24, 2020, vote by mail ballots will be mailed to voters who have submitted applications. The ballots can be returned to the Clerk’s office (18 N. County St., Room 101, Waukegan, IL 60085) in person or postmarked by Nov. 3rd.
In the state of Illinois, mail in ballots that are post-marked on or prior to November 3 will be counted if received within 14 days after the election. However, due to post-office back logs, it may be good practice to send your ballot in earlier than November 3. In addition to mailing your ballot, you can also put it in a secured drop box at an early voting site. The election board recommends this option if you are submitting your ballot within two weeks of the election. The drop boxes will be available starting in mid-October.
For additional questions, please visit https://www.lakecountyil.gov/343/Voting-Options#Mail
Vice Presidential Debate
Wednesday, October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
Tuesday, September 29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio
Thursday, October 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida
Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
Fact Checking Websites
- Factcheck.org: a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
- Snopes.com: derives revenue from ads on site, not a nonprofit.
- Politifact.com: non-partisan fact-checking website to sort out the truth in American
- politics. Project of Tampa Bay Times.
- Washingtonpost.com “fact checker column” by Glenn Kessler: The Washington Post is
- owned by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com.
- Allsides.com: Online News Media Bias Ratings.
- Ad Fontes Media: Home to the Media Bias Chart.
- Reporters Without Borders: Has World Press Freedom Index.
Digital Media Literacy
Media literacy is the ability to engage with media thoughtfully, understand the journalistic process, and to discern reliable media sources from advertisements or unreliable sources. Learn more with the News Literacy Project or Media Literacy Now.
When engaging with online content, ask:
- Who is behind it?
- What evidence do they use?
- What do other sources say on the topic?
If you are unsure about a piece of media:
- See if one of the professional fact checking organizations listed above has evaluated it.
- Trace the information back to its original source.
- If it’s a photo, do a reverse image search in Google (instructions here).
- Determined who created the media, and what purpose it serves.
- Do a quick google search to see if other reliable media outlets are reporting the same thing.
- Review where the publication lands on the media bias chart from Ad Fontes Media at adfontesmedia.com/static-mbc/.
Candidates and Issues on Lake Forest Local Ballot:
Lake Forest Office to be Elected
- Precinct Committeemen and Lake Forest Municipal candidates and referenda
Lake County Offices to be Elected
Visit https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/13059/Candidate-List?bidId= to see a complete candidate list
Candidates and Issues on Illinois Ballot
Illinois Graduated Income Tax Amendment
- Yes – Illinois should allow for a graduated income tax rate to be put in place.
- No – Illinois should continue with the current flat tax rate.
Candidates for U.S. Senate Illinois
Candidates for U.S. House Illinois District 10
Illinois House of Representatives District 58
Bob Morgan (D) (incumbent)
For more information on who is on your ballot based on your address please visit Lake County Voter Power at lakecountyil.gov/351/Voter-Power-for-Registered-Voters. Fill out the form to log in.
In Voter Power, you may register to receive your ballot by mail, track your ballot, see what districts you are in, find out where you vote, see a list of your current elected officials, and view a sample ballot prior to either voting or receiving your ballot. You may also find more information about voting by mail and learn how to cast a write-in vote.
The League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area will hold virtual candidate forums in the fall. See them, candidate information, and some helpful instructions on the nonpartisan website: https://illinoisvoterguide.org
Candidates for National Election
President, General Election
- Donald J. Trump (Republican) (Incumbent) - Running mate: Michael Pence (Republican)
- Joe Biden (Democrat) - Running mate: Kamala Harris
- Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) - Running mate: Jeremy “Spike” Cohen (Libertarian)
- Howie Hawkins (Green) - Running mate: Angela Nicole Walker (Socialist, Green)
Ballot Information Sites
Use the following non-partisan sites to help you make an informed decision about who and what issues you may want to vote for based on your beliefs.
- BallotReady.org: Dive into the background of every candidate and referendum on your personal ballot. Compare candidates based on their stances on issues, biography, and endorsements and save your choices as you go. Breeze through the ballot box by bringing BallotReady to the polls.
- ProCon.org: A non-partisan source for pro, con, and related research on controversial issues. ProCon.org uses professional researchers and rigorous editorial standards to explore more than 80 controversial issues from gun control and death penalty to illegal immigration and alternative energy.
- LakeVoterPower.info: Receive a sample ballot of the upcoming election
Local and National Election Websites
- League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff: https://www.lwv-lflb.org/
- USA.gov website on voting: https://www.usa.gov/voting
- Vote.org: https://www.vote.org/
- Rock the Vote (supports and encourages young people to vote): https://www.rockthevote.org/
- Vote.gov where you can register to vote: https://vote.gov/
- Office of the County Clerk for Lake County: https://www.lakecountyil.gov/163/Elections
- Lake County Democratic Organization: https://www.lakedems.org
- Lake County Republicans: http://lakecountyrepublicans.com/
Campaign Finance Information
Follow campaign finance reporting easily with these 501©(3) nonprofit organizations:
- The National Institute on Money in Politics at followthemoney.org
- The Center for Responsive Politics at opensecrets.org/about/
Learn about Illinois regulations and reporting from the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Learn more about campaign finance law at
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- The FEC compilation of Federal Campaign Finance Law, second edition
- Campaign Finance Institute