Election begins with two options for early voting in Winnebago County

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Amidst concerns about election fraud, Winnebago County Clerk Lori Gummow, a Republican, is committed to running a fair election, as she sternly told a group of election judges at a Machesney Park church where they had just been trained to work the election in their local precincts. 

In August, some residents were annoyed that Gummow sent a mass mailing that included an application to vote by mail. But she explained to us at the time, "The letter/application is a requirement of all election authorities in Illinois."

Illinois relies on signature verification, not voter ID cards, to help keep the election fair. On Nov. 8 at polling places throughout the county [PDF], two election judges, one from each major party, will watch each voter sign their name and check it against the signature on file. At the end of Election Day, two election judges, one from each major party, will deliver their sealed ballots to the County Clerk's office after posting the precinct totals at the polling place.

By law, election judges may only ask to see an ID when a voter is providing a new signature. Sometimes over the years the voter's signature has changed from the one on file, which may date back to the first time they registered to vote as a young person. 

Early voting for Winnebago County's 96,000 registered voters continues until Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. 

If you live outside the city limits of Rockford, you may vote early at two locations, starting on Monday.



Harlem Alpine Centre, 7933C N. Alpine Rd. Loves Park

  • Monday, Oct. 24 - Friday, Oct. 28: 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. (open weekdays)
  • Monday, Oct. 31 - Friday, Nov. 4: 8:30 am.– 7 p.m. (open late)
  • Saturday, Nov. 5: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (open Saturday)
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 8:30 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. (open Sunday)
  • Monday, Nov. 7: 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (open late weekdays)

The Winnebago County Administration Building, 404 Elm St. 4th Floor, Rockford

  • Until Friday, Oct. 28: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (open weekdays)
  • Saturday, Oct. 29: 8:30 a.m. – noon (open Saturday morning)
  • Monday, Oct. 31 - Friday, Nov. 4: 8:30 am.– 7 p.m. (open late)
  • Saturday, Nov. 5: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (open Saturday)
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 8:30 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. (open Sunday)
  • Monday, Nov. 7: 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (last chance)

If you are a registered voter, you can also request an early ballot, as 7,000 did, to vote by mail. Then you have to mail it back by Election Day. You cannot use it to vote at your local polling place - that's why it's called vote by mail. 

However, if you later change your mind and want to vote in person after all, you can first surrender your mail ballot to the election officials at your polling place.

For questions, contact the Winnebago County Election Department at 815-319-4252.

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