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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in Illinois

Eligibility

  • Age: You must be 17 years old on or before the date of the Primary Election and turn 18 on or before the date of the General or Consolidated Election
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: voting rights restored upon release from prison.
  • Incarcerated individuals: You must not be serving a sentence of confinement in any penal institution as a result of a conviction.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: You must live in your election precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state or register to vote in IL.
  • Check to see if you are already registered https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx 

More information: https://www.elections.il.gov/DocDisplay.aspx?Doc=Downloads/ElectionOperations/PDF/RegisteringToVote.pdf

Deadline

Online registration

To use the online voter registration system you must have a current and valid driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver photo identification card issued by the State of Illinois.

Online registration form 

https://ova.elections.il.gov/ (English)

Mail-in registration

Printable forms

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/sber19.pdf (English)

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/sber19_spanish.pdf (Spanish)

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.

Choosing a political party:   

Illinois does not register political parties.  In primary elections, voters request either a political party ballot or a non-partisan ballot with only public questions on it. 

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, use the online voter registration form.

Cancelling registration

To cancel a registration, voters must send a signed letter or a signed form to local election authorities.

Directory of Election Authorities: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionAuthorities.aspx?MID=cQHxtxVEmuo%3d&T=637121063815962621

ID Requirements for Illinois Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

For online voter registration, an Illinois driver's license or state ID is required.

Mail-in Registration

If you do not have a driver’s license, State Identification Card or social security number, and this form is submitted by mail, and you have never registered to vote in the jurisdiction you are now registering in, then you must send, with this application, either (i) a copy of a current and valid photo identification, or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. If you do not provide the information required above, then you will be required to provide election officials with either (i) or (ii) described above the first time you vote at a voting place or by absentee ballot

ID Requirements for Voting

First-Time Voters

First-time voters who registered by mail and did not submit their driver’s license number, state ID number, last four digits of their social security number, or other form of ID are required to present identification showing their name and address before voting.

All Other Voters

Voters who are registered at their current address and are voting at the correct precinct do not require ID unless:

  • Challenged by an election judge(1 form of ID required)
  • Voter is registering during grace period or changing address (2 forms of ID required)

Voters who lack required ID may vast a provisional ballot and then must present ID to election authorities within 7 days.

More information: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionDayVoting.aspx?MID=Szw0eRrv1dQ%3d&T=637098884632191552

Where to get an ID

Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Locations: https://www.ilsos.gov/facilityfinder/facility

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Obtaining a non-driver photo ID: 

  • https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/drivers_license/central_issuance/home.html

Casting a Ballot in Illinois

Important Dates

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • Absentee ballots must be requested between 90 and 5 days before a specific election if requesting by mail or online.
  • Ballots are mailed out by election authorities no earlier than 40 days before an election.  For consolidated elections, the date may be after 25 days before the election.
  • Ballots must be postmarked on or before election day.  Ballots received after election day during the provisional ballot counting period may be counted during that period.

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • The MOVE site will enable you to set up a MOVE account to register to vote and request vote by mail ballots for upcoming Federal Elections. This site was designed to help ease the burden of members of the Uniformed Services (and their eligible dependents) and overseas voters in requesting a voter registration and a vote by mail ballot application. This site will give you the ability to keep in contact with your local election official and to track the status of your application and ballot.”
  • https://move.elections.il.gov/?Name=mHQiXhz%2fItGRYYhzrZWC70bs4YkAnGkSpUB%2fuMoNAs2DLlvbtCWlFw%3d%3d&T=637140106212206809

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

All voters are eligible to request an absentee ballot in Illinois

Details: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/VotingByMail.aspx?MID=ELGeUv9wLSI%3d&T=637121111692088016 

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place: https://ova.elections.il.gov/PollingPlaceLookup.aspx?T=637116702728751386
  • For a general election or primary, polls in Illinois are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Check with the Local Election Authority regarding voting hours for municipal elections..
  • Time off to vote: Employers in Illinois must give an employee up to two hours' time off in order to vote, unless the polls are open two hours before or after the employee's shift.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft (www.lyft.com) provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:
  • Republican Party: https://illinois.gop/ 

Democratic Party: https://democraticpartyofillinois.com/

Help for disabled voters

  • Equip for Equality (https://www.equipforequality.org/issues/voting/) operates the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program in Illinois.
  • Curbside voting is available if you cannot enter your polling place.  You may request a ballot be brought to you at an accessible point within 50 feet of the entrance of the polling place.

Ballots

Sample ballots are available from your local election authority

https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionAuthorities.aspx

Elections

Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • In Illinois, any voter may vote in a party primary, but must choose which ballot they want during the election.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.

 

 

Jurisdiction

Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2020)

Representative (elected every two years)

State (even years)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General (elected every four years; next election in 2022)

State Appellate Courts and Supreme Court(10 year terms)

State Senator (elected for 2 or 4 year terms on a rolling basis)

State Representative (elected every two years)

Statewide ballot measures

County Offices

Municipal (odd years)

School Board and other boards and commissions

Local ballot measures

Mayor 

City Clerk

City Treasurer

City Council

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Sample ballots are available from local election authorities: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionAuthorities.aspx

Important Dates

Election Day is November 3, 2020

Dates of all elections can be found in the Illinois Election Code http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=001000050HArt%2E+2A&ActID=170&ChapterID=3&SeqStart=5825000&SeqEnd=11900000

Who conducts elections?

  • The Illinois State Board of Elections oversees statewide and local elections
  • Local Election Authorities maintain voter rolls for each municipality
  • Local Election Authorities prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality

Local Election Authorities: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionAuthorities.aspx?MID=cQHxtxVEmuo%3d&T=637140105660749748

Voter Bill of Rights

Illinois does not have a Voter Bill of Rights

Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

The Illinois State Board of Elections oversees complaints about elections.  For those not related to campaign finance, the details are listed here. https://www.elections.il.gov/abouttheboard/filingcomplaints.aspx 

For complaints about Campaign finance disclosure, see https://www.elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/FilingComplaint.aspx?MID=BUMx8%2f%2f53fQ%3d&T=637140104288845339

Campaign finance

The Illinois State Board of Elections(https://www.elections.il.gov/Default.aspx) provides access to all candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings, see the campaign disclosure tab on their website for more information.

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your elected officials: https://www.elections.il.gov/electionoperations/districtlocator/districtofficialsearchbyaddress.aspx

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.