October 21, 2014

CHICAGO (Oct. 21)–Early voting for the November 4th General Election opened Monday, and SMART-TD Illinois Legislative Director Robert W. Guy is advising members to take advantage of the new rules that make earlier voting easier than ever.

“I just voted early, and everybody who holds down a railroad-crew job should do the same thing,” Guy said. “Most of our members work ‘on-call’ and cannot be sure they’ll be home when polls open November 4th. The only way to make sure your vote is counted is to vote now and get it out of the way before Election Day.”

Guy pointed out that a new, one-time-only set of election laws signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last summer made this year’s early-voting period a little longer.

“Early voting used to last for a couple of weeks and closed on the Saturday before the election,” he said. “This year it will continue through Sunday, November 2nd. And people using early voting for the first time will not have to display a photo I.D., such as a driver’s license. The whole process has been simplified.”

Most early voting is conducted in county buildings, although city halls also may be used in larger cities. To find your early voting location just visit www.elections.il.gov and click on “Early voting locations”, or give us a call at 312-236-5353 and we can assist you in finding your early voting location.

“Our union advises all members—even those who hold down a regular job—to take advantage of the early-voting program in their respective counties,” Guy said. “Even scheduled railroaders are subject to unanticipated delays—especially on today’s increasingly congestion-plagued rail network. Don’t assume that a 3:30 p.m. tie-up means you’ll get to the polls before they close. Anything can happen.”

Guy also urged members to vote for candidates endorsed by SMART-TD.

“Union-endorsed candidates are those with a record of defending the interests of working families and protecting the health, safety and workplace rights of employees,” Guy said.

“SMART-TD has fought hard—and successfully—over the decades to make sure our members work on safe-hazard-free surfaces when they are out of doors, that they have modern, sanitary crew facilities when they are indoors, that they ride in safe vehicles when they are shuttled between rest and work, and that they get immediate medical attention without interference from management when they are injured,” he said, adding:

“The legislators of both parties who passed the laws protecting our health and safety deserve our support at the polls—not just as an expression of our thanks but to enable them to pass similar legislation that ultimately will protect all employees in all industries. I urge all members not just to vote for these candidates but to vote early. Every vote counts.”

For a list of Illinois SMART-TD recommended candidates please visit www.illini.utu.org and click on “2014 Illinois General Election Endorsements”.