2021 Evanston Municipal Election Guide
In 2021, Evanston is electing its local government, through a Primary Election on February 23rd and a General Election on April 6th. Use this guide to learn more about the upcoming elections and how you can participate.
About Evanston City Government
Evanston City Government is comprised of the Mayor, City Clerk, and nine Aldermen. Each Alderman represents a municipal legislative district, called a ward, in the City Council. The Mayor, City Clerk, and Aldermen are elected on a non-partisan basis to serve four-year terms. Learn more about how the City Council works, or check which ward you live in.
Why Do Local Elections Matter?
There are many issues that the Evanston Mayor and City Council work on that directly impact the lives of Northwestern students, including the city’s COVID-19 response, affordable housing and the cost of living (especially off campus), city infrastructure (such as bike lanes and street lights), policing, business and economic development (such as the expansion of downtown or the approval of liquor licenses), environmental sustainability, and issues of racial and socioeconomic equity.
Evanston’s Mayor and City Council members serve four-year terms, so the decision makers you elect now will be in office throughout your time at Northwestern. Learn more about the candidates for each office and where they stand on the issues.
When Are the Elections?
February 23, 2021
4th & 8th Ward Aldermen
How Does It Work?
In Evanston, a primary is held for Mayor if there are more than two candidates, and for City Clerk and Aldermen if there are more than four candidates, including write-in candidates. The primary narrows the field in each race to two candidates. For the Mayoral primary, if one candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the primary result for that race is final.
April 6, 2021
School Board & Park District
* Unless a primary candidate wins more than 50% of the vote
FAQs About Registration & Voting
You can register and vote in the Evanston Municipal Elections if you are U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on Election Day, an Evanston resident for at least 30 days before Election Day, and not in jail for a felony conviction. In order to vote, you first must be registered at an Evanston address. Students who are registered at an Evanston address but temporarily displaced due to COVID-19 can vote by mail.
No. Evanston Municipal Elections are non-partisan.
If you registered recently, it often takes several weeks for registration requests to be processed. If you cannot confirm your registration from a previous election, simply re-register.
If you have concerns about your registration, contact your local election authority. For Evanston specifically, e-mail Voter.Reg@cookcountyil.gov or call (312)603-0906.
If you run into a problem, don’t panic – you still have the option to register and vote in Evanston through Election Day.
You can register to vote in advance:
|Primary Election||General Election
(Opens February 25th)
|Online (Requires an IL Drivers License or State ID)||By February 7th||By March 21st|
|By Mail (Need Support with Printing & Mailing?)||By January 26th (Postmarked)||By March 9th (Postmarked)|
If you have passed these deadlines, it is not too late! You can register and vote at the same time, during early voting or on Election Day.
Registration typically does not expire. However, you must update your registration if your address, name, or signature has changed. If you don’t vote for several years, or your county sends you election mail that gets returned, you may be removed from the voter rolls, so it’s always a good idea to check to make sure your registration is current.
No. If you haven’t registered yet, it is not too late!
Grace Period Registration & Voting
Grace Period Registration allows you to register and vote at the same time, during the Early Voting period up to the day before the election. Note that if you choose Grace Period Registration, you must cast your ballot immediately after registering.
If you live in Evanston (regardless of which ward you live in), you can register and vote at the Evanston Civic Center (2100 Ridge Ave, Room G300) during the following dates and times:
|Primary Election||General Election|
|March 22–April 5
To register to vote through Grace Period Registration, you must present TWO forms of ID. You will be required to cast your ballot immediately after registering.
Election Day Registration & Voting
You can also register to vote on Election Day at your assigned polling place with TWO forms of ID.
To register to vote in person, you must present TWO forms of ID:
- Something that proves your identity: A Wildcard, driver’s license, state ID, passport, birth certificate, or social security card
- Something that shows your current Evanston address: Postmarked mail, a utility bill, a bank or credit card statement, a pay stub, a lease or rental contract, or a printout from CAESAR that shows your local address (CAESAR > Main Menu > Personal Profile > My Addresses)
To register to vote online, you must provide an IL driver’s license or state ID number and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. To register to vote by mail, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number only. If you register to vote by mail, you may be required to show ID (proof of identity and proof of address) the first time you vote or request or return your ballot. For help getting the IDs you need to register, see VoteRiders.
Yes. Students have a legal right to register and vote at either their permanent address or their campus address.
You should typically be registered and vote in the place you most consider to be ‘home’. For instance, where you feel more connected to your community, where you are more informed about local issues or follow local news and politics, or where you want to have a say in policy or in who represents you in elected office. This may change during the course of your college career.
You have the option to vote early or vote on Election Day. To vote on Election Day (Primary Election: February 23rd or General Election: April 6th), you must go to your assigned polling place.
To find your polling place, use Cook County’s Voter Information Search Tool. If you are registered to vote with an on-campus address, north campus typically votes at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center (927 Noyes St) and south campus typically votes at Parkes Hall (1870 Sheridan). Note that polling places are always subject to change, even on short notice, so be sure to double check the location using the search tool above just before you go to vote.
On Election Day, all polling places are open from 6 AM to 7 PM.
Yes! If you live in Evanston (regardless of which ward you live in), you can register and vote at the Evanston Civic Center (2100 Ridge Ave, Room G300) during the following dates and times:
|Primary Election||General Election|
|March 22–April 5
Yes! If you are already registered to vote at your current address, you can request a vote-by-mail ballot online. If you are not yet registered to vote at your current address, you can submit a paper ballot request form by mail along with your mail-in Voter Registration Form.
You must request a vote-by-mail ballot by February 18th for the Primary Election or April 1st for the General Election, though you are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible to make sure you receive your ballot on time.
Once you submit your request, you will be mailed a paper ballot to the address you choose, to complete, sign, and mail back in the enclosed return envelope.
Vote-by-mail ballots are typically mailed approximately one month prior to Election Day, and then on an ongoing basis as requests are processed, which can take several weeks.
If you have requested a vote-by-mail ballot but have not yet received one, you can check on the status of your ballot online using Cook County’s Voter Information Search Tool You can also e-mail Mail.Voting@cookcountyil.gov or call (312)603-0946.
If you live on campus, note that mail can sometimes take a bit longer to make its way through the campus mail system. Remember to check your mailbox regularly. You also might want to check with staff in the mail room and at the package center.
If you run into trouble (e.g. the county did not receive your ballot request, or there was a problem with it, or they mailed you a ballot but you did not receive it), you can submit a new request if there is still time, or you still have the option to vote in person, during early voting or on Election Day.
To return your vote-by-mail ballot, simply drop your postage-paid envelope in the nearest USPS mailbox. On campus, mailboxes are available on the corners of Colfax and Sheridan, Foster and Sheridan, and Hinman and Sheridan. See our mailing tips to find mailbox and post office locations near you, guidance if you are mailing close to the deadline, and more. Your ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day, but you are encouraged to return your ballot as soon as you are able.
If you registered to vote by mail, and are voting for the first time at your current registration address, you may be required to show ID (including proof of identity and proof of address) to vote. (This is especially true if you did not include an Illinois driver’s license or state ID number or Social Security Number on your registration form.) If you are registering during Early Voting or on Election Day, you must bring TWO forms of ID. Otherwise, in Illinois, you are NOT required to show ID to vote. However, we recommend bringing a Wildcard or other photo ID just in case. For help getting the IDs you need to vote, see VoteRiders.
You are allowed to bring notes or sample ballots with you to the voting booth and look up information on your phone. However, in Illinois, you may NOT take any photos of your ballot or inside the polling place.
You do NOT need your Voter Registration Card to vote. However, you must be registered. You can verify your registration status online using Cook County’s Voter Information Search Tool. If you run into a problem, don’t panic – you still have the option to register and vote through Election Day.
You might want to consider voting by mail, as it is generally contactless. If you are voting in person, you might want to consider voting early, to avoid lines at polling places on Election Day. Register in advance and research your ballot ahead of time to minimize your time in the polling place. Whenever you vote, you should be sure to wear a mask, remain 6 feet apart from others, and wash your hands before and after you vote.
Register to vote or check or update your registration in advance if you are able.
If you are voting by mail, request your ballot well in advance of the deadline, and check to make sure your request was received and your ballot is on the way. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully on your ballot request form as well as on the ballot and ballot envelope. Complete all fields, sign in all places required, and make sure your signature matches the signature on file with your voter registration. Finally, return your ballot well in advance of the deadline.
If you are voting in person, be sure to bring proper IDs (including proof of identity and proof of address). Make sure your signature matches the signature on file with your voter registration. Follow the instructions carefully as you complete and submit your ballot.
In Cook County, you can check the status of a mail-in ballot or provisional ballot online to confirm that it was received and will be counted using the Voter Information Search Tool.
If you or others encounter issues at a polling place or barriers to voting, contact the National Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. If your eligibility to vote is challenged, you should still be able to vote a provisional ballot, which will be reviewed after Election Day to determine if your vote can still be counted.
What’s On My Ballot?
The offices that will appear on the Primary Election and General Election ballots are listed below. For each office, the candidates who will appear on the ballot are listed first, followed by write-in candidates if applicable. All candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Candidate websites (or alternately, social media pages) are linked if they could be found. (If you are aware of one we’re missing, please email us.)
Offices & Candidates
* Note: This race will appear on the Primary Election ballot. The top two vote-getters will appear on the General Election ballot, unless a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote in the primary. In that case, the primary result will be final, and this race will not appear on the General Election ballot.
Donald N. Wilson
* Note: This race will appear on the Primary Election ballot for 4th ward voters. Only the top two vote-getters from the Primary Election will appear on the General Election ballot.
Matthew Marley Mitchell
Devon Malcolm Reid
Shelley Ann Carrillo
Joshua C. Hall
* Note: This race will appear on the Primary Election ballot for 8th ward voters. Only the top two vote-getters from the Primary Election will appear on the General Election Ballot.
Cicely L. Fleming
Evanston/Skokie School District 65
(Vote for Four)
Joseph ‘Joey’ Hailpern
Soo La Kim
Elisabeth ‘Biz’ Lindsay-Ryan
Kate Magrino Voorhees
Donna Wang Su
Ridgeville Park District
(Vote for One)
How Do I Decide?
Here you will find some resources to help you make informed decisions about the candidates on your ballot, ideas about how to get further involved this election season, and more!
Voter Education Resources
To view a sample ballot, enter your address into the Cook County Voter Information Search Tool.
Here are some ways you can educate yourself to make informed decisions about the candidates on your ballot:
- Review candidates’ websites and social media feeds (see the candidate lists above).
- Watch candidate debates and forums. The League of Women Voters of Evanston and the Evanston Public Library are co-sponsoring a series of candidate forums that you can watch live or on demand.
- Check out local news media – they often report on debates and forums, profile candidates, or have candidates complete questionnaires about where they stand on key issues. Check out local election coverage from the Daily Northwestern, the Evanston Roundtable, and Evanston Now.
- If you identify with a political party, or are aligned with an issue advocacy organization, local political organizations often endorse or support candidates. For instance, the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership (OPAL) and Evanston Fight for Black Lives have offered endorsements.
No! If you don’t feel sufficiently informed about a particular office, set of candidates, or issue, or you don’t want to vote for any of the candidates, you can choose to leave that category blank. This does not invalidate your ballot – your other selections will still be counted.
To get further involved this election season, you can:
- Double or triple your vote (or more) by getting friends in your network to commit to vote as well. Help them make their voting plan, and send them reminders to make sure they follow through.
- Volunteer for a candidate’s campaign, or on behalf of a political party, issue advocacy organization, or nonprofit voter engagement organization. Contacting voters via phone and text and sending postcards with voting reminders can all be done remotely.
- Work the polls! Typically, many poll workers are retirees who are at higher risk for COVID-19, so there is a high need during the pandemic for young, healthy people to work at polling places on Election Day. In Illinois, this paid position is open to U.S. citizens, 16 or older, who have lived in Illinois for at least 30 days prior to Election Day. Review the qualifications and pay, and apply now to work as an Election Judge at a polling place in Evanston (or anywhere in suburban Cook County).
- You can also explore additional opportunities for civic engagement beyond voting.
- In future election seasons, consider becoming an NU Votes Ambassador. Join our mailing list to learn about future opportunities (select Interested in NU Votes).
Sources & Additional Resources
Evanston City Council – About Evanston’s Local Government
Evanston City Clerk – Registration & Voting Information (Evanston)
Cook County Clerk – Registration & Voting Information (Suburban Cook County)
Illinois State Board of Elections – Registration & Voting Information (Illinois)
Vote.org – Election & Voting Information (All 50 States)
US Vote Foundation – Election & Voting Information (All 50 States)
The NU Votes staff and student team is standing by to help! Email email@example.com. If you have additional questions or need more specific guidance, contact your local election authority.