3 Sep September 3, 2010 in News tagged: voter registration Several entities are joining forces in their continuation to educate new potential voters and to encourage those already registered to exercise a cherished right. Voter election registration and education have been held at all area banks and at area high schools throughout the city benefiting numerous patrons. The East St. Louis Board of Elections partnered with the local NAACP, the Metro East Lenders Group, and the area high schools in their continuing effort. The drive gave potential voters a last chance to register before the November 2nd election. “Voting is crucial this year more than ever and our voices must be heard through our votes,” said NAACP President Johnny Scott. On October 1st, the banks opened their doors and registered new voters. Participating banking institutions were: Associated Bank, First Bank, First Illinois Bank, Regions Bank and US Bank. “We just want to remind everyone they have the ability to vote. We don’t care who they vote for as long as they vote. Each voice and vote is important,” said Illinois Bank Sr. Vice- President and COO Richard Coolbaugh. Board of Election personnel set up stations at Tomorrow Builders Youthbuild Program September 22nd, SIU-E East St. Louis Charter School Sept. 23rd , and East St. Louis Sr. High School Sept 30th. In a addition to the drives, the Election Board is working to ensure voters are aware of an Illinois State law changing regulation of absentee and voting by mail. The law was passed by the Illinois General Assembly. As a result, any registered voter can vote by mail without stating a reason. The voter only has to fill out a form requesting that right. The forms are being distributed by various organizations and churches throughout the area or they can pick them up from the Board of Elections office. If voters choose this method, they must first request an absentee ballot application. That application must be in the possession of the Board of Elections by the end of the business day October 28th. The other option is to vote in the Board of Elections office by November 1st. Voters will also have the opportunity to apply for absentee voting at the upcoming 56th Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Awards Banquet on October 17, 2010 starting at 5:30 pm at the Millennium Riverfront Hotel. If you plan to attend the dinner as well that evening attire is black tie and tickets are $50 general admission and $100 VIP. For more information, you may call the East St. Election Board of Elections (618) 398-3778; St. Clair County Clerk (618 277-6600) and Madison County Clerk, (618) 692-6290. Many lives have been given and legislation won for the right to vote. Please do not take this opportunity lightly. It is the one chance to be heard. Make sure you are registered.