Women’s March organizers, Democratic allies to drive early voting on Saturday
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Chicago’s Women’s March and Democrat-allied groups are sponsoring a get-out-the-vote rally on Saturday in Grant Park.
With early voting underway, the “Women’s March to the Polls” will focus on first-time voters who will be urged to cast a ballot by election day, Nov. 6.
Though organized as a non-profit organization, and not specifically endorsing candidates, the Women’s March Chicago is bankrolled by Democrats and Democratic supporters. The major donors – $10,000 and up are the Chicago Federation of Labor; Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s governor campaign; The Last Weekend; March On; Need to Impeach; SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, SEIU Local 73, SEIU Local 1 and SEIU Illinois State Council.
Pritzker and his running mate, Juliana Stratton, will attend the march, and be with their supporters, a campaign spokesman said.
Marchers will gather Saturday at 9 a.m. at the main entrance to Grant Park at Columbus and Ida B. Wells (formerly Congress), and an hour later, the main rally will begin at the stage near Columbus and Jackson. Around 12:30 p.m., organizers plan to begin their march to the Loop.
From the march’s endpoint at Federal Plaza, marchers will be directed toward voting locations at 175 W. Washington St. (for Chicago voters) and 69 W. Washington St. (for other Cook County voters). Early voting sites will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Women’s March Chicago will return to Grant Park, the location of its last two marches. Marchers should enter the park on Columbus Drive at Ida B Wells Parkway (formerly Congress) or Balbo Drive. An accessible entrance at Columbus and Monroe will also be open to families.
The CTA will be providing expanded L service around the rally, including more frequent trains on the Red Line and longer trains on the Brown Line.
How (to vote)
Organizers worked with election authorities to ready the early voting locations for the march.
“We’re going to have as many pieces of equipment and workers as we can fit on the site,” Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen said. “We’ll do our best. We’ll see how much they throw at us.”
Allen and march organizers each cautioned that attendees should consider other options for casting a ballot early to reduce the burden on the polling locations, including voting by mail or visiting an early voting location at another time.
The downtown sites for Chicago and Cook County voters will be open daily till the election. From October 22, early voting locations will be open in every ward and across the county. Voters can check their registration online. They can register online through October 21, in person at several locations around Cook County, and at their polling place on election day.
Women’s March Chicago is a non-profit affiliate of March On, an umbrella association that organized women’s marches across the nation in 2017 and 2018.
Organizers declined to guess at the number of marchers the event would draw, but Chicago women’s marches in the past swarmed the Loop and filled Grant Park.
Who (will speak)
Organizers announced a slate of performers and Democrat activists who will take the stage at the rally. The rally will be emceed by Melissa DuPrey, an actor and comic.
- Author Barbara Ramsey, an historian who has written about the Black Lives Matter movement
- Adrienne Lever, the political director of Democratic-allied Swing Left
- Tichina Haywood, a member of the Service Employees International Union and a first-time voter
- Amani Johnson, the co-founder of BRAVE, an anti-violence organization operating out of St. Sabina Church in Auburn-Gresham
- Ric Wilson, a Chicago-based rapper
- Jessica Disu, also known as FM Supreme, a Chicago-based rapper
- Evie the Cool, DJ
At their City Hall news conference, organizers put their event in the context of national politics.
“They thought that they might have gotten rid of us by making [Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh] official, but all that did was help continue to fuel women and young people that we have got to vote, and we’ve got to stand together, and that’s just what we plan to do on Saturday,” said Jaquie Algee, Women’s March Chicago board member and a SEIU Healthcare vice-president.
The National Weather Service forecasts sunny skies on Saturday, with a high of 52 degrees.
DISCLOSURE NOTE: Unions have an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media, including the Chicago Federation of Labor; Operating Engineers Local 150; SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana and SEIU Local 1