Register to vote: That's the message Cook County officials want the youth to hear

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Foot Locker stores aren't just a place to buy your favorite athletic wear anymore; they're now a place where you can register to vote.

"We need to vote and I think that's a good idea," said Marcellus Brown, Chicago resident.

Starting Tuesday, anyone who wants to can register to vote or check their voter registration status though kiosks at Foot Locker's roughly 2,000 stores or a voter registration portal on the company's website.

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The initiative, in partnership with Rock the Vote, hopes to reach the millions of young people now eligible to vote, and is just one of many efforts coinciding with National Voter Registration Day.

"From who gets a lifetime position on the Supreme Court to whether or not the Affordable Care Act continues to be constitutional, your vote matters now more than ever," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan campaign to register voters every year on the fourth Tuesday in September that began in 2012. It's resulted in nearly 3 million registrations, according to its website.

Emergency medicine doctors and staff at Cook County Healthy are continuing their own effort, called Vote ER, which helps patients register while they wait to be seen in the emergency room.

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With the pandemic and a national reckoning on race, local election officials are gearing up for an increase in mail-in voting.

"My office is currently processing mail-in applications and we will actually begin mailing them to voters beginning this Thursday," said Cook County Clerk Karen Yarborough.

While Marcellus Brown, who's already registered to vote, supports Tuesday's efforts, he said the only thing that really matters come November 3 is the people.

"Go vote," he said.

Early voting in Cook County begins on October 9 and ends on November 2.
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