The elections are coming: The first day to circulate nominating petitions for candidates in the 2016 primaries is September 1. The Primary Election is March 15, 2016, and Election Day is November 8. Earlier this week, the Chicago Board of Elections released election calendar deadlines and ward-by-ward signature requirements that candidates will likely pore over ahead of a long election season. Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 is the last day to register to vote or to transfer registration to a new address before the primaries (there’s also a grace period for certain circumstances, but why take your chances?).

Big changes noted by Chicago Board of Elections:

  • Early voting will start 40 days before Election Day at the Election Board’s offices, and then expand to 51 sites 15 days before Election Day for both the primary and general elections. Early voting also will end later, now on Monday the day before Election Day.
  • Early voting will offered for three days at UIC, Chicago State University, and Northeastern Illinois University.
  • Election Day registration will be offered in all Illinois jurisdictions. In Chicago, that will mean at each of the City’s 2,069 precinct polling places. Voters still have to go to the correct precinct based on their home address.
  • Election authorities will need to post updates on their web sites in the days after the elections, showing how many late-arriving Vote-By-Mail ballots have been received but not yet processed or counted. (These numbers will be fun to monitor in razor-thin margin races.)

Dates we’ll be watching ahead of the primary on March 15, 2016:

  • Nov. 23, 2015: First day to file nomination papers for Federal, State, Legislative and Judicial offices, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Cook County offices and for Ward Committeeman
  • Nov. 30, 2015: Last day for nomination papers for the above offices, and last chance for candidates to file economic interest statements. Interestingly, candidates for Ward Committeemen are not required to file economic interest statements.
  • Dec. 7, 2015: Last day to file objections to nomination papers of candidates
  • Dec. 14, 2015: Last day for filing original petitions for the submission of ballot referendum question
  • Dec. 21, 2015: Last day to file objections to petitions for the submission of ballot referendum questions
  • Jan. 7, 2016: Last day for candidates who filed nomination papers with the State BOE to withdraw as candidates, and the day names are placed on the official ballot by the County Clerk (in the order they were certified)
  • Jan. 13, 2016: Last day for candidates who filed with Cook County Clerk to withdraw, and the last day for the Cook County Clerk to certify to the Board of Election Commissioners the names of the candidates for the primary
  • Feb. 29, 2016: First day for early voting at permanent polling place locations
  • Mar. 8, 2016: Last day for the Board to publish a notice of referendum questions to be voted on

Almost simultaneous with the Board of Elections press release, Steve Berlin, Executive Director of the City’s Board of Ethics, tweeted out a Revised Guide to Political Activity for City Employees. It’s red, white, blue, and full of restrictions. “Remember: there’s no such thing as a silly ethics question,” the FAQ reads. Especially in Chicago.