CALUMET CITY | City Clerk Nyota Figgs and members of her staff were at Thornton Fractional North High School this week to find more potential voters for the March 18 primary election in Illinois.
Figgs told the City Council on Thursday her staff worked with faculty at T.F. North on Tuesday to find 17-year-old students who now are eligible to vote, following changes in state law that took effect Jan. 1.
Under Illinois law, people must be 18 in order to register to vote. But a change made by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn says if someone can show they are old enough to vote by the time of this year’s general election on Nov. 4, they can be registered now and allowed to vote in the primary, even if they’re only 17.
Figgs said students were excited to hear presentations by faculty and her staff about voting in elections and the process for registering.
She said her staff was able to identify about 15 T.F. North students who fall into the niche of people who can now cast their first ballot a few months earlier than state law previously identified.
Much of Calumet City falls within the Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215. Although high school students living west of Torrence Avenue are within the Thornton Township High School District 205, and attend Thornwood High School in South Holland.
Figgs said her office had planned to visit Thornwood earlier this month, but that a scheduling conflict arose.
She also said the League of Women Voters has since put together its own effort to find 17-year-old Thornwood students who can now register to vote.
“We’re going to allow them to do it,” Figgs said, adding that her office is cooperating with the League of Women Voters on these registration drives.
People wishing to register to vote prior to the March primaries can do so at their city or village clerk’s office by Tuesday.
Figgs said her office will be helping the Cook County Clerk’s office to maintain an early voting center for the south suburbs from March 3 to 15 at the Calumet City Public Library, 660 Manistee Ave.
In other business, the City Council presented prizes to winners from each of the city’s seven wards in the annual Holiday Decorating Contest, which encourages residents to decorate their homes for the Christmas holiday.
Top prizes were snow globes donated by the Things Remembered store in the River Oaks shopping center, while other winners received Christmas tree ornaments engraved with their names.
Aldermen also approved a resolution honoring the life of current Calumet City resident Rosa Idora Belisle Guitterrez, who turned 100 on Jan. 31. She is an immigrant from Belize who came to this country in 1974, and has raised many generations of children in her family.