Early voting begins on Monday, March 23, for the April 7, 2015 suburban Cook County Consolidated Election, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Thursday.

More than 2,000 candidates are running in 699 contests, including village trustee, alderman, village clerk, fire protection district, library board, park district board, and elementary, high school, and community college boards. There are also 36 local referenda on topics such as term limits, bond issues, 911 surcharges, noise ordinances, and red light cameras.

“While these local elections do not garner as much attention or turnout as even-year elections, the issues that officials who are elected on April 7 will face directly impact voters’ lives,” Orr said. “If you want to have a say in how your community is governed or how local schools, parks, and libraries are run, the first step is to vote.”

Early Voting continues daily from March 23 to April 4. There are 42 Early Voting sites in suburban Cook County, in addition to the Clerk’s downtown office, 69 W. Washington St., Chicago. All Early Voting sites are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for the five suburban courthouses, which are open weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seven sites are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 29.

Voting by mail is also available to voters who would prefer to vote from home. No excuse is necessary to vote by mail, and the process is easier than ever, now that voters can apply online for a mail ballot, at cookcountyclerk.com/votebymail. Voters may apply until April 2 to vote by mail in the April 7 election.

Suburban Cook County voters are encouraged to visit the Voter Information page on the clerk’s website, cookcountyclerk.com, or on their smartphones or tablets atm.cookcountyclerk.com, to check their registration status, view a sample ballot, find the location of their polling place, and view statements from the candidates who are on their ballot.

Voters who cast a ballot during Early Voting may not vote on Election Day or vote by mail.

Early Voting locations and hours, and the full list of candidatesreferenda, and write-in candidates can be found under the 2015 Elections section of cookcountyclerk.com.

Submitted by the Cook County Clerk’s Office.