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Local News

Will County Sheriff, Clerk's offices to help pre-trial detainees register and vote

The Will County Adult Detention Facility on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Joliet, Ill.
The Will County Adult Detention Facility on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Joliet, Ill.

A local group announced that the Will County Clerk and Sheriff’s Office will collaborate in offering voter registration and absentee ballots to pretrial detainees at the Will County jail.

Sheriff Mike Kelley organized an internal process to assist detainees with registering with help from the clerk’s office and the Center for Correctional Concerns, a Will County social service provider which serves jail inmates. Jail staff obtained voter registration packets and absentee ballots for pretrial detainees who want to vote.

Detainees who register also will receive an absentee ballot for the
Nov. 6 election. The detainees can vote by mailing the ballots using a no-cost envelope.

Will County will be joining New York City, Chicago and other municipalities in helping detainees exercise their right to vote, according to a news release from the New Day Employment Network. The organization, which has a pending nonprofit status application, is encouraging everyone with a friend or relative in the jail to use this assistance so they can vote.

NDEN explained in the release that there is a gap in the ability to register and vote for pretrial detainees that Will County is trying to bridge. Many of those in the jail merely are accused of crimes and may spend several months to a few years in county jails awaiting trial.

The last day for registration is Tuesday. The last day for the clerk’s office to receive ballots is Nov. 6.

Before the deadlines, friends or family of anyone with known problems voting at the facility can report them to the NDEN message center at 815-277-9802.

The NDEN is an employment agency starting in Joliet. It plans to provide pre-employment training, employment placement and advocacy for people who need jobs, with special attention for those in need of a second-chance opportunity.

NDEN’s founder and director, Pam Fort, has been helping provide free expungement services in Joliet for the past 20 years. The organization is looking for employers willing to give people a second chance to become self-sufficient.

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