Illinois

Upcoming Elections

2023-01-19 – Early Voting Starts (At Election Authority Office Starting on)

At Election Authority Office as of Thu Jan 19, 2023

2023-02-01 – Registration Deadline

Wed Feb 1, 2023

2023-02-02 – Registration Deadline (Grace Period from)

Grace Period starts Thu Feb 2, 2023

2023-02-12 – Registration Deadline (Online by)

Online by Sun Feb 12, 2023

2023-02-23 – Ballot Request Deadline (Post received by)

Post received by Thu Feb 23, 2023

2023-02-23 – Ballot Request Deadline (Online by)

Online by Thu Feb 23, 2023

2023-02-27 – Ballot Request Deadline (In-Person – Received by)

In-Person, Received by Mon Feb 27, 2023

2023-02-27 – Early Voting Ends (Early Voting Period ends on)

Early Voting ends Mon Feb 27, 2023

2023-02-28 – Ballot Return Deadline

Tue Feb 28, 2023 7:00PM CST

2023-02-28 – Ballot Return Deadline (Postmarked by)

Postmarked by Tue Feb 28, 2023

2023-02-28 – Registration Deadline (Grace Period to)

Grace Period through Tue Feb 28, 2023

2023-03-14 – Ballot Return Deadline (Post received by)

Post received by Tue Mar 14, 2023

Last updated: March 2022

Voting in Illinois

When You Can Vote

Early Voting: The period for early voting begins 40 days prior to an election and extends through the end of the day before Election Day.
Election Day: Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, or until the last person in line at 7:00 p.m. has voted.

Where You Can Vote

Early Voting: Voters can look up early voting polling places in their election jurisdiction on the State Board of Elections website.
Election Day: Voters can use the Registration Lookup Tool to locate their polling place. Many jurisdictions have their own polling place lookup tool as well, which may be more up-to-date.

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines

  • For registration deadlines, see How to Register below.

How to Check Your Registration: Voters can determine whether they are registered to vote at the following link: Am I Registered?.

You are eligible to vote in Illinois if you:

  • Are a U.S citizen
  • Are at least 18 years old by Election Day
  • Live in the precinct where you vote for at least 30 days prior to the election

*You can vote vote in a Primary Election at the age of 17, if you will be 18 by the time of the General Election.

You are NOT eligible to vote in Illinois if:

  • You are in prison or jail for a felony conviction

Restorative Requirements

  • If you have completed a felony prison sentence, even if you are still on parole or probation, then you are immediately eligible to register to vote.

How to register 

  • City of Chicago General Election
    • Register By: Wed Feb 1, 2023
    • Apply Online: Online by Sun Feb 12, 2023
    • Grace Period starts Thu Feb 2, 2023
    • Grace Period through Tue Feb 28, 2023

A voter can register in person, by mail, or online.

  • In Person. A voter may register in person at the County Clerk’s Office, Board of Election Commissioner’s Office, City and Villages Offices, Township Offices, Precinct Committeeman, schools, public libraries, military recruitment offices, and other locations designated by the election authority. 

Voters can register in person while voting up to and including on the Election Date at certain locations.

  • By Mail. A voter can register by mail by completing and mailing the Illinois Voter Registration Application (which can be downloaded here) at least 28 days before Election Day.

Online. A voter can register online on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website at least 16 days before Election Date.

Voting Early & by Mail

If You Want to Vote Absentee, requests may be made:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail

Absentee Ballots may be returned:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail
City of Chicago General Election

Ballot Request:

  • Online by Thu Feb 23, 2023
  • Post received by Thu Feb 23, 2023
  • In-Person, Received by Mon Feb 27, 2023

Ballot Return:

  • Tue Feb 28, 2023 7:00PM CST
  • Postmarked by Tue Feb 28, 2023
  • Post received by Tue Mar 14, 2023

Early Voting:

  • Early Voting from At Election Authority Office as of Thu Jan 19, 2023 to Early Voting ends Mon Feb 27, 2023

Illinois uses “vote by mail” to refer to all mail in ballots. It no longer uses the term “absentee.”

Voters can obtain a mail ballot application on the State Board of Elections website or, for Chicago voters, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ website.

Mail ballots must contain signed and dated affidavits on the application and the ballot envelope where indicated, attesting to the accuracy of information provided on the application. Voters must use blue or black ink and must seal the envelope enclosing the ballot. Instructions should appear in the information mailed from the election authority as well.

Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received within 14 days of the election. Voters may deliver mail ballots in-person to their election authority at their office. 

Election authorities may set up collection sites (sometimes known as dropboxes) where voters can return mail ballots. Ballots returned to the collection sites can be returned up to the close of polls on Election Day.
Voters can locate dropboxes for their jurisdiction here.  Not all counties in Illinois use dropboxes.

Identification Requirements

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Illinois you should provide:

  • Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number
  • Your Illinois Driver’s License or State/non-driver ID Number

If you do not have any of these IDs, you can provide a copy of one of the following with your registration application:

  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Government Issued Document that shows your current name and address
  • Utility Bill
  • Government Check
  • Bank Statement
  • Paycheck that Shows your Current Name and Address
  • Valid Student ID and Mail Addressed to your Residence

You can alternatively provide one of these documents when you vote to complete your registration. Two forms of identification with at least one showing your current residence address are needed when you register in-person.

Voting In-Person

If you registered to vote in Illinois, you may be required to present valid ID if you are voting for the first time or your registration is incomplete. You can use any ID from this list:

  • Lease or rent agreement
  • Paycheck that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Utility Bill
  • Bank Statement
  • Valid Student ID and Mail Addressed to your Residence
  • Government Check
  • Government Issued Document that shows your Current Name and Address

Illinois generally does not require identification to vote for voters that are already registered. However, voters registering during the grace period or a first-time voter who registered by mail but did not submit sufficient proof of identity with the registration application must present two IDs the first time they vote. At least one of the IDs must contain the voter’s current address (or, for homeless voters, a mailing address used by the voter). Some examples of acceptable IDs include:

  • Illinois driver’s license or state ID card;
  • Employee or student ID;
  • Credit card;
  • Social Security card;
  • Birth certificate;
  • Utility bill in the voter’s name; 
  • Mail postmarked to the voter;
  • Valid U.S. passport;
  • Public assistance ID card (such as Illinois Link card); or
  • Lease or rental contract

Identification cannot be expired.

If a voter is unable to show identification when required (e.g., registered by mail without providing identification, was successfully challenged, is on the inactive list, or is using grace period registration) the voter may vote by provisional ballot.

If You Have Moved Within Illinois

Recent moves:

Voters that move within 27 days of Election Day and stayed in the same precinct need only fill out an affidavit related to their address change, which will update their address for this and future elections. 

Voter that move within 30 days of Election day and moved outside of their precinct but still live in the State may update their registration to their new address through Election Day and do Grace Period Registration and voting based on their new address OR they can vote a full ballot in their old polling place after completing an affidavit. They must provide two forms of identification to update their address, with one showing the new address.

In many jurisdictions (such as Chicago), if someone moved within the last 30 days and stayed within the same jurisdiction, voters may have the option of going to the old polling place and vote there. If this is the case, the best source of information is the election authority itself or its published election judge manual for the particular election jurisdiction.  

Moves more than 30 days before the election:

Voters that moved more than 30 days before the Election Date within the same election jurisdiction, but outside their precinct, and did not transfer their registration, may update their registration and vote through Election Day using Grace Period Registration; alternatively, they may vote for Federal offices only after completing an address correction form.

Voters that moved more than 30 days before the Election Date to a new election jurisdiction (a new county or a new municipality with its own board of election commissioners and did not transfer their registration can only vote by re-registering from their new address.

Because of the availability of Grace Period Registration, only in rare cases should a voter be encouraged to utilize their old precinct (with a potentially different ballot) or be given a “Federal Offices only” ballot to vote at their previous address. This should be limited only to people that are not able to utilize Grace Period Registration.

If You Are in the Military or Are an Overseas Voter

Voting Military

Service members and their dependents may register and request a ballot using the federal voter registration/ballot request form (“FPCA”). You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • U.S. State or Territory or District Issued ID
  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID
  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number

Voting Overseas

U.S. citizens living overseas may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form. You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • U.S. State or Territory or District Issued ID
  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID
  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number

Registration/application for unregistered overseas civilian citizens temporarily residing outside the United States must be received by October 9, 2022. Overseas civilian citizens who currently are registered to vote and absent uniformed service members and eligible family members must have their signed ballot requests received by October 29, 2022. Requests for ballots can be submitted online through the Illinois Military and Overseas Empowerment website or through https://www.fvap.gov/illinois.

The Chicago Board of Elections offers military/overseas voters emailed ballots, mailed ballots, or an online ballot option (available here). Any eligible military/overseas voter with a valid Federal Post Card Application on file with the Chicago Board of Elections may log into the online ballot option, after which the voter must print and mail the ballot and supporting documents to the Chicago Election Board

Uniformed service members (and their eligible dependents) and U.S. citizens living outside of the United States may request a vote by mail ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). 

The voter can get step-by-step assistance and forms here, on the Illinois State Board of Elections website, or, for Chicago voters, on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website.
Mailed ballots must be signed and postmarked by Election Day and received within 14 days of the election.

If You Have a Felony Conviction

The only people in Illinois who CANNOT vote because of their criminal record are people who:

  • Are in prison or jail serving a sentence after conviction for any crime;* 
  • Are on furlough from confinement under a sentence, including medical furlough;
  • Are in an Adult Transition Center; or 
  • Are on work-release (or periodic imprisonment) from confinement under a sentence (usually from prison). 

*Note that the majority of people in a jail are being detained in pre-trial detention and have not been convicted of the crime they are being detained for and are eligible to vote.

However, others who have been convicted of a crime CAN vote, including people previously convicted of felony crimes who are not currently serving a sentence of confinement or people on probation or parole. 

After a person has served their sentence and is released from incarceration, they are again eligible to vote as soon as they are released but must re-register to vote.

Accessibility and Spanish Language Assistance

Any voter who needs help voting has the right to get help, as long as the voter makes the choices on the ballot and the person helping just marks the choices made by the voter. A voter may choose anyone to assist them other than their employer or union representative. In many places, polling places are required to provide help in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, and other languages.  Call 866-OUR-VOTE, 888-VE-Y-VOTA, 888-API-VOTE, or 888-YALLA-US if you have questions.

Polling places are required to be accessible to people with disabilities, but many are not.  You can contact your local election office ahead of time to request “curbside voting” so that you can vote from your vehicle. Many polling places also have electronic voting machines with functions such as headphones, touch screen functions, and sip-and-puff ports.

Questions about voting in Illinois?

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