Lansing’s Early Voting team makes voting efficient, pleasant

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The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, Illinois. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (March 18, 2019) – If you’re stressed about voting, Linda Powell, Carolyn Smith, and Sheller Washington can help. They are Equipment Managers who are serving as Election Judges during Early Voting in Lansing. Their goal is to make participating in democracy a pleasant experience for everyone.

From left: Linda Powell, Carolyn Smith, and Sheller Washington are the “dream team” of Early Voting at the Lansing Public Library. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

“They put a heck of a team together when they picked us three,” said Powell. They bring years of experience to the position as well as a calm demeanor and a passion for giving people a voice.

“We will do everything in our power to help people vote,” said Smith. She reminisced about last year’s Parade to the Polls, when 23 first-time voters walked from TF South to the Lansing Public Library to cast their ballots. Most of the high schoolers needed help registering, and a few did not have any form of ID with them. Smith and her colleagues brainstormed ways to help them provide the necessary information. They were able to get all but one student registered that afternoon.

“We’re here for that purpose,” said Washington gently. She believes election officials have been entrusted with a responsibility to shepherd citizens through the process, not to prevent participation.

All three recommend Early Voting rather than waiting until Election Day to vote. Early Voting locations are staffed with the same people every day, so they become familiar with the equipment and the process, and therefor they can handle people with greater efficiency than Election Judges who are called into service for just one day. Plus, Early Voting does not use paper ballots, and that streamlines the process.

Early Voting is available at the Lansing Public Library from now until April 1, and April 1 is often the busiest day. The hours vary week by week.

This week:

  • Monday, March 18: 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 19: 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Wednesday, March 20: 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Thursday, March 21: 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Friday, March 22: 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Saturday, March 23: 9:00am–5:00pm

Next week:

  • Sunday, March 24: 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Monday, March 25: 9:00am–7:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 26: 9:00am–7:00pm
  • Wednesday, March 27: 9:00am–7:00pm
  • Thursday, March 28: 9:00am–7:00pm
  • Friday, March 29: 9:00am–7:00pm
  • Saturday, March 30: 9:00am–5:00pm

And finally:

  • Sunday, March 31: 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Monday, April 1: 9:00am–5:00pm

Voters do not need a government-issued photo ID in order to early vote, but it can be helpful in case of questions about a voter’s registration, address, or signature. Registered voters who bring their Voter ID card can fast-track because Early Voting sites have card readers at every check-in station.

Early Voting is set up on the second floor of the library, in the glass-walled room facing the top of the staircase. The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.

One more reason to vote early: “Probably by Wednesday we’ll have some candy out,” said Smith.