Updated January 22, 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 >
Prepare for upcoming 2018 elections
- Key dates and deadlines for the March 20, 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election.
- Am I registered to vote? Check your current voter registration through the Cook County Clerk.
- Did you miss the February 20 deadline to register by mail? Register online by Sunday, March 4. See a full list of your options >
- Update your voter registration to your new address (you'll need your driver's license or state ID) by Sunday, March 4.
- Want to vote by mail? Apply by Thursday, March 5, to have your ballot mailed to you >
- Can't make it to vote on Election Day or don't know where to go to vote? Find an early voting site or your Election Day polling place >
- Become an election judge >
- Find more info for voters in suburban Cook County >
Who's on the ballot
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
- 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
Prepare for tax season
- Tax returns are due April 17. More from the IRS about deadlines and refunds >
- Print federal and state tax forms and file online at the library >
- Applications for senior property tax exemptions must be completed by February 7. Residents who qualify for homeowner, senior citizen, or senior citizen freeze exemptions may pick up forms at the Oak Park Township office. Learn more about eligibility, deadlines, and how seniors may benefit from recent tax laws >
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.