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How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Illinois

En español | Illinois offers several ways to register to vote, including online, by mail and in person. You also can register to vote when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or state-issued ID card online.

The state’s 2022 midterms decided races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois General Assembly, governor and other statewide and municipal offices. The next statewide election is in 2024, with elections in some cities, including Chicago, in 2023.

Essential information:

  • Upcoming elections: Information about upcoming elections will be available on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.
  • Mail voting: Illinois is a no-excuse vote-by-mail state, permitting all registered voters to safely cast a ballot from home. 
  • Early in-person voting: Each election authority determines the locations and hours for early voting. Check with your local elections authority to determine when and where you can vote early.
  • Voting at the polls: Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You'll need two forms of ID if you register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day.

Have there been recent changes to voting in Illinois?

Redistricting in 2021 has changed certain boundaries of U.S. congressional and state legislative districts.

How do I register to vote?

  • By mail: Download a voter registration form from the state board of elections website. Print it, complete it and mail it to your local election authority in your jurisdiction, which you can find by using the search tool on the state board of elections website.
  • In person: Applications are available at some public schools and libraries, military recruitment offices, local election authorities and county clerk offices in some jurisdictions. Contact your local election authority to find out where you can get a voter registration application in your jurisdiction. In-person voter registration is available up to and including Election Day as part of the state’s grace period registration process, in which voters can register and cast a ballot at in-person polling sites. Locations are posted to the state board of elections website.
A Voter enters the fire station polling
A voter enters a polling location at a fire station in Magnolia.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

Voters do not have to declare party affiliation to participate in primary elections or while registering to vote. But you can only vote on one party’s ballot in the primary.

How can I get a vote-by-mail ballot application?

  • Online: Use the state board of elections' online tool to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Completed vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than two weeks following Election Day. You can also place your completed mail ballot in a secure drop box or take it to a vote center in your local jurisdiction. Or hand deliver your vote-by-mail ballot at your polling place on Election Day. Contact your local election authority to find out where to drop your ballot on Election Day.

Can I track my vote-by-mail ballot?

Your local election authority may offer online ballot tracking or require voters to call or email the office to check the status of your ballot. Read the instructions sent with your vote-by-mail ballot to find out how your jurisdiction tracks voted ballots. A list of state election authorities and contact information is available on the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Call the Chicago office at 312-814-6440 or the Springfield office at 217-782-4141 for more information.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes. Each election authority determines the locations and hours for early voting, subject to certain requirements placed on permanent polling places for early voting. Use the state board of election’s online tool to find early voting locations or call your local election authority to ask where and when you can vote early.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day? 

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find your polling place online.

Do I need identification to vote?

Only if you do same-day registration – registering and voting on Election Day. In that case you’ll need two forms of ID, such as a driver’s license, a state ID card or Social Security card (at least one ID needs to  show your current address). Other acceptable IDs include copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Your signature is considered your ID and is all you will need if you vote at a polling station on Election Day.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Dec. 6, 2022. The guide was first published on Aug. 20, 2020.

Also of Interest

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