Macon County Clerk fears many "think they're ineligible" to vote

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MACON COUNTY - Every vote will count in local elections next Tuesday.  Races for Mayor and City Council are among those on the ballot.  The Macon County Clerk, Steven Bean, says early voting numbers a little lower than excepted, and he doesn't want citizen's to miss out on voting because they think they're ineligible.  He says some don't even know the material's required for registration.

"You must live in a precinct for 30 days," said Bean.  "You need to bring two forms of I.D., one with your current address."

Those must-haves are only for registration.  Many believe you need to bring an I.D. to your voting location on the day of the election.  You don't, because your name is already on a voter registration roll.  You do, however, have to bring an I.D. if you're voting early.  

Another misconception is that you can't vote if you have a felony on your record.

"Some states deny felons the right to vote, but Illinois is not one of them.  Never has been.  Once you've served your time, you're allowed to vote here in Illinois."

Some fathers also believe they can't vote if they owe child support.  Bean says his office doesn't even have access to that information.

"It takes legislative action for the state of Illinois to give files from one agency to another."

Bean also says some don't vote because they think court juries are selected from voter registration rolls.

"For years they did take the jury pool from the voter registration rolls," he said.  "About 20 years ago that changed.  They take it from anybody that has a state I.D. or even a driver's license.

Decatur resident Bryant Hart says some of his peers don't vote because they don't think their single vote will matter.

"They feel that their opinion doesn't count," he said.  "That's why they don't vote."

Bean says he has seen candidates win by less than 10 votes.  The last day to register to vote is Saturday.  The last day to vote early is Saturday.  The day of the election is Tuesday.

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