October 12, 2010

CHICAGO (Oct. 12)–Don’t wait until the November 2 General Election to vote. Do it now, using the Early Voting program, to make sure your vote counts no matter where your employer sends you on Election Day.

That’s the message from the UTU Illinois Legislative Board to all members who work as members of railroad crews.

“Railroad crew work by nature is erratic and unpredictable,” said Illinois Legislative Director Robert W. Guy. “Even if you work a regular 5-day-a-week yard job or commuter assignment, your plans to stop off and vote on the way home could be spoiled by a derailment, a grade-crossing accident or an on-the-job injury.

“Don’t let your vote go to waste,” Guy said. “You have the right to vote early. Do it now.”

Guy said Early Voting in Illinois opens everywhere on Tuesday, Oct. 12 and will run through Thursday, Oct. 28.

“You can even vote on the weekend if you want,” he said. “The Early Voting sites will be open on the weekends of Oct. 16-17 and 23-24.”

In most jurisdictions, Early Voting can be done at the county clerk’s office in the County Building. In larger cities, City Halls offer the service as well. Simply call your county clerk’s office or city board of elections to learn the location, or visit www.elections.il.gov.

In addition, the Illinois General Assembly recently established a pilot project opening Early Voting sites on the campuses of nine public universities. Any qualified Illinois voter can vote at any of the university locations, even if it’s located outside the jurisdiction where the voter lives.

Voters casting an early ballot must display valid identification such as a current driver’s license, a state-issued ID card or another government-issued ID with a photograph.

The law prohibits a person who voted during the early voting period from voting at the polls on Election Day. The votes cast during the early voting period will remain sealed and not be counted until after the polls close on Election Day.

Voters may also choose to vote via an absentee ballot. An application for an absentee ballot may be obtained, by mail or in person, by contacting your local election authority.

“This may not be a presidential election, but for our members the results of the 2010 General Election will be critical,” Guy said. “Who serves as governor, who sits in the General Assembly and who represents you in Congress will determine whether our members retain the gains we won over the last decade.”

Guy identified those gains as the right to safe, state-inspected crew vans driven by trained employees, the right to prompt medical attention and to privacy when we consult a physician for treatment of a workplace injury, and the right to perform yard and switching work on a safe, level, unobstructed walkway.

“The railroads have shown they will take away those rights if they can,” Guy said. “They have shown they are ready to take away jobs if they can. Our best insurance is to have a strong majority of UTU-endorsed candidates serving in government. Don’t waste your vote. Use Early Voting and elect the right candidates now.”

Remember to visit www.illini.utu.org to view the UTU Illinois Legislative Board endorsements for the upcoming election, and if necessary, print them off and take the list with you when voting. If you have any questions about the endorsements or need help identifying the contact information for your local election authority please call our office at 312-236-5353.
Now get out there and vote!