League of Women Voters

Voting In Illinois

Registration Deadlines
In Person:
Tuesday, February 16, 2015
By Mail:
Received by Tuesday, February 16, 2015
Election Dates:
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 (General Primary)
State Board of Elections
2329 S. MacArthur Blvd
Springfield, IL 62704

Upcoming Debates and Forums

There are no upcoming debates for this state.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote in Illinois, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years of age by Election Day
  • Have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day

ID Needed for Voter Registration

Two forms of identification are required when registering to vote, one of which must show your current residential address.

If you register by mail, sufficient proof of identity is fulfilled by submission of your driver's license number or state identification card number.

If you don't have either of those, verification by one of the following will be required:

  • the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number
  • a copy of a current and valid photo ID
  • a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other governmental document that shows your name and address

You may also demonstrate sufficient proof of identity by submission of a photo ID issued by a college or university along with either a copy of the applicant's contract or lease for a residence or a postmarked mail delivered to the applicant at his or her current address.

If you register by mail, you must vote in person the first time you vote unless you submit your driver license number or state ID number, the last four digits of your social security number or one of the forms of ID listed above.

ID Needed for Voting?

Identification is not required to vote at the polls, although you will be required to verify your signature. However, there are individual circumstances that may require that identification be shown. In those cases, you must present a photo ID, and if the photo ID has an address, it must match the registration address. If a photo ID is not used, the document (examples of which are listed below) must show your name and address. This must be presented to an election judge before being permitted to vote.

If you do not present a required form on identification, you may vote on a provisional ballot. For further information, please see Provisional Voting below.

If you registered to vote by mail after January 1, 2003, and you did not submit a copy of the required identification with the registration application at that time, and you will be voting in a jurisdiction for the first time, then you will be required to submit a copy of one of the following:

  • Current and valid photo identification
  • Utility bill
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Government document

Illinois voters who vote during the early voting period must vote in person and must provide a valid identification. Valid forms of identification for this purpose include a current driver's license, state-issued identification card, or another government-issued identification card.

Registration Deadline

Registration is open year round except:

  • During the 27-day period just prior to an election
  • During the 2-days after each election (1 day after in Chicago)

As of July 2014, voters may now register to vote either by accessing the Online Voter Application, or through the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Grace period registration is available in Illinois. The grace period for registering to vote is the 27th to the 3rd day prior to the election. After the normal registration period closes, grace period registration allows you to register in person at the office of your election authority. However, people who take advantage of the late registration opportunity are limited in the way they can vote: if you register to vote during this two-week period you must vote in the office of the election authority or vote absentee by mail. There are 110 election authorities in Illinois, most of them county clerks, and the others are boards established by larger cities. The people who register during the grace period do not vote at their polling place on Election Day, nor are they allowed to vote under the new Illinois law that establishes early voting centers.

Under federal law, citizens may apply to register to vote by mailing in an a voter registration application. The applications are available at some public and private facilities where you live. Applications may also be downloaded from the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

When you register by mail, your form must be postmarked prior to the close of registration. Please note that if you register by mail, with the exception of those disabled or in the military, you must vote in-person at the polling place or by in-person absentee voting the first time you vote.


Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status, please please use your state's resource.

Absentee Ballot Process

You do not need an excuse to vote absentee in Illinois.

Steps to request an absentee ballot:

STEP 1: Obtain the proper application for an absentee ballot, either by mail or in person, from your election authority.

STEP 2: Upon receipt, complete the application. Make certain to include your name, home address, address where you want the ballot to be mailed, and please remember to sign the application.

STEP 3: After completing the application, either mail it or hand-deliver it to your election authority. If you return the application in person or complete the application in the election authority's office, you may immediately vote with your absentee ballot in the election authority's office. If you mail the application and it is properly completed, the election authority will mail your absentee ballot to you.

STEP 4: After receiving your ballot, VOTE THE BALLOT IN SECRET. Insert the ballot into the envelope provided, seal it, complete and sign the certification on the back and PERSONALLY return it or mail it. The absentee voter may authorize, in writing, that a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, or licensed motor carrier, should deliver the completed absentee ballot to the election authority in sufficient time to be delivered to the polling place on Election Day.

You can request an absentee ballot by mail from 40 days prior to the election up till 5 days before the election. You can request an absentee ballot in person 40 days before the election up till 1 day before the election. Please contact specific county officials for absentee ballots sent from outside the United States.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot from the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.


If you have filled out your ballot and want to use express delivery, you can use the Overseas Vote Foundation's Express Your Vote resource for discounted shipping rates and reliable tracking.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have filled out your ballot want to use express delivery, you can use the Overseas Vote Foundation's Express Your Vote resource for discounted shipping rates and reliable tracking.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Early Voting

For more information about early voting locations, check our your state's resource.

Early voting is available from the 3rd Monday before the election through the 3rd day preceding the election. An election authority will publish the location of each permanent and temporary polling place for early voting and the dates and hours that early voting will be conducted at each location.

Election Dates

The next election is Tuesday, March 15, 2016 (General Primary). The registration deadline is Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Illinois:

  • You must be registered to vote in Illinois
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Political affiliation required
  • Term requirement of 2 years
  • You will be entitled to compensation
  • You must be a resident of the precinct for the 30 days prior to the election
  • You must complete required training
  • Students with citizenship who are 17 years old may work with written permission from a parent or guardian and school principal and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Polling Place Hours

The polls are open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Time Off To Vote

Every employee is entitled, after giving notice, to two hours off work, provided that the employee's working hours begin less than 2 hours after the opening of the polls and end less than 2 hours before the closing of the polls. The law does not specify whether time off is paid.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

Provisional Voting

An election judge will issue you a provisional ballot at your polling place if:

  • Your name does not appear on the lists of registered voters for the precinct
  • Your voting status has been challenged by an election judge, poll watcher or another voter and a majority of election judges agree
  • A court order is issued instructing your polling place to remain open after 7:00 pm (if this occurs everyone voting after 7:00 pm must cast a provisional ballot)
  • You are required to show identification because you registered by mail, but you did not bring ID to the polling place on Election Day or early voting site. In this instance you must supply the election authority with a copy of acceptable identification by 7:00 pm the Thursday after Election Day.
  • Your name appears on the list of voters who voted during the early voting period, but you claim not to have voted during that period.
  • You received an absentee ballot but did not retunr the absentee ballot to the election authority.

By law, you must vote in your assigned precinct for all votes on your provisional ballot to count.

Provisional ballots are counted after Election Day. The election authority receives all provisional ballots and determines the registration status for each provisional voter within two weeks after the election. If it is determined that you are registered and eligible to vote, your vote will be counted. If you are not registered, your vote will not be counted, but the information you supplied on the affidavit form will serve as a registration application for the next election.

To find out if your vote was counted, please use your state's provisional ballot tool.

Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Illinois are optical scan and DRE.

To find out what voting machine is used in your county, please visit your state's resource.

p>Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.


Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen, where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. Some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

Information on local, state and federal candidates and ballot measures may be available here.

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

Numerous provisions are available to aid voters with disabilities. If you are a disabled voter you may request the opportunity to register at home and have registration materials brought to you. You may also request to register to vote by mail.If you are permanently physically disabled, in a nursing home or in a hospital, you may also be eligible for absentee voting.

The Help America Vote Act requires that election authorities have voting equipment in place for voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently, and Illinois is no exception. Additionally, there are options for a seated voting booth, voting assistance from a friend, relative, or two election judges (one from each party), and curbside voting.

Language assistance is alsoavailable where required under amendments to the Federal Voting Act of 1992.

For more information on the provisions available for disabled voters, please contact your local election authority.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.


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