Updated May 9, 2018
As we work to empower every voice in our community and share the information, services, and opportunities that fulfill Oak Park's aspirations, we often get questions about being an informed citizen. Here are answers to recently asked questions about becoming a more engaged community member. Have a question not answered here? Tell us now >
- See the 2018 Suburban Cook County gubernatorial election results >
- Mark your calendars for the 2018 Illinois general elections on Tuesday, November 6.
Am I registered to vote?
Where can I register to vote?
- At the library, register to vote during open library hours.*
Voting registration instructions
At the library, eligible voters who reside anywhere within the state of Illinois can register. You must be:
- A U.S. citizen,
- At least 18 years old by the general election, and
- A resident of your precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
Bring two pieces of identification. Neither needs to be a photo ID, but one must include your current address. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Illinois driver's license
- Illinois state ID
- Employee or student ID
- Credit card
- Social security card
- Birth certificate
- Utility bill in applicant's name
- Mail postmarked to the applicant
- Valid U.S. passport
- Public aid ID card
- Lease or rental contract
*Registration with deputy registrars at the library is closed during the 27 days prior to an election and the two days after an election. If you miss the deadline, you can register at the office of the election authority through grace period registration and voting. Locations and hours vary for each election. You can also register to vote online, by downloading and mailing in a voter registration card.
Get a referendum on a future ballot
Illinois is one of 24 states that allow a form of direct democracy called ballot initiatives. A ballot initiative can be officially created when a petition to initiate a public vote on a proposed statute or constitutional amendment is signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters. Learn more about ballot initiatives and signature requirements in Illinois.
Evaluate sources of news and information
Teaching people how to be better consumers of information is the fundamental task at the heart of our profession. Check out these resources and stay informed:
- American Press Institute: Six questions that will tell you what media to trust >
- PolitiFact: Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website
- Factcheck.org: A project from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Snopes.com: The long-standing debunking website
Understanding legalese and completing legal forms can be tricky. Use these resources to help you navigate legal forms and find answers to your civil legal questions:
Subscription-based library resources
Check Illinois: Offers background checks with search by name, property address, property PIN, or business name, including foreclosures, mortgage records, real estate transactions, building code violations, DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, tax liens, and more.
- Legal Information Reference Center: Find legal forms and full text legal reference books on popular topics.
Record Information Services: Provides data on new homeowners, new businesses, foreclosures and bankruptcy for market research purposes.
Websites recommended by our librarians
- Illinois Legal Aid Online: Find legal forms and get connected to legal resources. Get help navigating the site with real-time chat. (Please note: No legal advice available.)
- Illinois Courts: Find legal forms with step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the form.
- Free Legal Answers (Illinois): Email an American Bar Association volunteer attorney with civil legal questions. (Please note: Volunteer attorneys do not offer representation.)
Be an informed consumer
The threat of identity theft looms large in the United States. Consider the numbers: in 2016, roughly 15.4 U.S. citizens were affected, with an estimated $16 billion stolen, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. From the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2014, about 7 percent of people age 16 or older were victims of identity theft, similar to findings in 2012. And a fall 2017 Equifax data breach may have exposed up to 143 millions Americans data, according to the company. A related dollar amount is still to be determined.
Here are free resources you can access from anywhere, anytime informing you on steps to take to protect yourself, and what to do if you are a victim. Want to speak to a librarian directly? Call our reference desk at 708.452.3480 during open library hours.
- Illinois Identity Theft Resource Guide: step-by-step actions to take as a victim.
- Illinois Attorney General Identity Theft: general resource page; toll-free Identity Theft Hotline: 1.866.999.5630 or 1.877.844.5461 (TTY).
Credit Union websites
To check on your reports or freeze your accounts
Want to go more in-depth on online privacy, identity and security? Try these websites:
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): home page and identity theft page
- National Consumer Law Center >
- Consumers Union >
- Identity Theft Resource Center >
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse >
- Electronic Privacy Information >
- USA.gov >
- Village of Oak Park Police Department >
The topic of identity theft is constantly evolving. To keep current on the most recent happenings, use trustworthy information from online resources to search articles and periodicals on the topic.