09/14/2012 11:37 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Get Your Voter Mojo Working

With the conventions behind us and campaigns in high gear, the election season is officially here. And now, for the first time in a presidential election, Illinois voters have a choice of three ways to vote -- by mail, during early voting or on Election Day.

Mail voting is the newest option. A convenient alternative, mail voting is not just for college students, military personnel or Americans working abroad. Mail voting takes the worry out of elections; there's no more fretting about the weather, child care or finding a ride to your precinct.

Just download a mail voting application from and mail it; your ballot will be delivered right to your mailbox starting Sept. 27, and even earlier to military voters. Apply soon to get your ballot in time to vote. Ballots must be post-marked by Nov. 5. Mail voting is easy, and this short video shows you how.

Of course, most registered voters who are able to participate on a weekday will cast their ballots the first Tuesday in November -- the 6th. There is something invigorating about lining up with your neighbors at your local precinct. You may prefer different candidates, yet take satisfaction in knowing each of you has a stake in your community.

Those who have a scheduling conflict, but still want to vote in person can participate in early voting. From Oct. 22 to Nov. 3, all voters in suburban Cook County can vote early at their choice of 44 locations.

You may vote early near your home, your job, or near a friend who needs help reaching the polls. For voters ready to choose, early voting has proved a tremendous convenience since it started in 2006. During the last presidential election, it accounted for 22 percent of the vote. And it's been implemented with high-tech, real-time security restrictions, so nobody can game the system and vote twice.

Making a choice between presidential candidates is a weighty decision for every American, but acting on that choice is easier than ever.

Whether you take part in mail voting, early voting or Election Day, get motivated and participate in the democratic process! Register to vote by Oct. 9 and cast your ballot in the coming presidential election.