This is not directly related to IP law, and is not legal advice or an endorsement of any candidate.  I am supporting a blog initiative to get state voting rules on the web, as a public service to blog readers. The following information comes from the Cook County Clerk’s Office election site, a great place if you have voting or election questions. Also, early voting ends tomorrow evening. After that, you must vote on election day, Tuesday, November 4 or by absentee ballot. Finally, to provide an IP connection to this post, click here for an interesting Patent Docs post outlining each presidential candidate’s respective positions on patent law issues.

1. You must be registered to vote.

2. Get to your polling place and obtain a ballot:

  • Find the location of your polling place. For early voting, you have a wide choice of polling places.  On Tuesday, November 4, you must go to the polling place for your precinct. If you do not know where your polling place is located, ask your county clerk or board of election commissioners.
  • Bring a photo ID. You do not need your voter registration card, but it does not hurt to have it with you.
  • Don’t wear t-shirts, buttons or anything else with any campaign logo. They are prohibited at polling places.
  • At the polling place, sign an application for ballot.  You will then receive a paper ballot or a card for an electronic voting machine.

3.  Marking the ballot.

  • An optical scan ballot consists of columns of names of offices and candidates with an incomplete arrow or small oval adjacent to the name.  To select the candidate of your choice, complete the arrow next to the candidate’s name with a single bold stroke, using only the felt-tipped pen provided in the booth. Or, if your ballot has ovals, fill in the oval staying within the lines as nearly as possible, again using only the felt-tipped pen provided in the booth.
  • Read the instructions and be especially mindful of the number of candidates to vote for in each office. If you vote for more candidates than the number to be elected, it is considered an over-vote and none of the candidates for that office will receive a vote.
  • You are not required to cast a vote in all offices. If you skip an office, an under-vote will be registered for that office; however, an under-vote cannot be traced to any individual voter. Over-voting or under-voting an office does not affect the rest of your ballot.
  • You may cast a write-in vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot. Write the name of your candidate on the blank line provided directly at the end of the list of candidates for that office. Complete the arrow or fill in the oval next to the name of your write-in candidate. A write-in vote will not be counted for any candidate who has failed to file an Intent to be a Write-in Candidate as prescribed by law.

4.  Check your ballot.

  • Review your ballot to make sure your marks are sufficient and for the candidates you want to vote for.

5.  Preserve the secrecy of your ballot.

  • Place your voted ballot in the security sleeve provided to preserve the secrecy of your ballot.

6. Cast your ballot.

  • Take your ballot to the judge of election in charge of the ballot box who will cast the ballot for you.
  • If you have any questions concerning the ballot ask those questions before your ballot is cast. If you make an error you may request a new ballot. If you didn’t see a public question for which you should have been able to vote, or you believe you should have been able to vote for a candidate whose name you did not see on the ballot, ask those questions before your ballot is inserted in the ballot box. Once your ballot is cast nothing can be done to retrieve it. Note: There may be candidates on both sides of your ballot.