General Voting Information

What are the Voter Registration requirements?

  • Must be a US citizen
  • Must be at least 18 years of age by Election Day
  • Must have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day
  • Must not be an incarcerated person serving time for a convicted offense

When may I register to vote?

Registration is open year round EXCEPT during the 27-day period just prior to an election and during the 2-day period after each election (1 day after in Chicago) .

Where can I register to vote in person?

  • County Clerk's Office in your home county
  • Board of Election Commissioner's Office
  • City and Village Offices
  • Township Offices
  • Schools
  • Public Libraries
  • Military Recruitment Offices

The following people or organizations may be entitled to register people to vote:

  • Precinct Committeemen
  • Some Labor Groups
  • Some Civic Groups
  • Some Corporations

When applying for service at the following agencies, you will be given the opportunity to register to vote:

  • Driver's License Facilities
  • Department of Healthcare & Family Services
  • Department of Employment Security

Can I register at a public assistance office?

Yes, any person who requests public assistance will be given an opportunity to register to vote.

What is "Grace Period" Registration?

"Grace Period" Registration is an extension of the period of time for a voter to register to vote, or to update their registration information. This "Grace Period" Registration extends registration from the normal close of registration up through the 14th day before the election. Once registered, this voter may cast a ballot during this "Grace Period" at the election authority's office or at a location specifically designated for this purpose by the election authority, or by mail, at the discretion of the election authority.

What forms of identification may be needed when I register to vote?

Two forms of identification with at least one showing your current residence address is needed when you register in-person. If you register by mail sufficient proof of identity is required by submission of your driver's license number or State identification card number. If you don't have either of those, verification by the last 4 digits of the your social security number, a copy of a current and valid photo identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address will be required.

Will I automatically be registered to vote when I renew my driver's license?

No, but you will be given the opportunity to register to vote. If you are already registered to vote, there is no need to register again unless you change your name or move.

Can I register to vote by mailing an application to my election office?

Yes. Under federal law, citizens may apply to register to vote by mailing in an application. The applications are available at some public and private facilities where you live. Also, applications can be downloaded and printed by clicking here. When you apply for registration using the mail-in form, it must be postmarked prior to the close of registration.

If I mail in an application to vote, can I vote by absentee ballot?

If you are disabled, in the military or provide your election authority with sufficient proof of identity, persons who register by mail may receive an absentee ballot.  Some restrictions apply, however, and you are strongly encouraged to contact your local voting authority to discuss your situation.

When can I consider myself officially registered to vote?

As soon as you receive a voter ID card in the mail, you can consider yourself registered. If you do not receive an ID card within 3 weeks after you registered, contact your election authority.

What if I change my name after being registered?

If you changed your name more than 27 days before the election and did not re-register, you cannot vote - unless you live in the same precinct. If you live in the same precinct, you may sign an affidavit at the polling place attesting that you are the same person, in which case you will be given the full ballot.

What if I move, can I still vote?

It depends on when you move. If you moved within 27 days of the election in the same precinct you can vote a full ballot by signing an affidavit.

If you moved more than 30 days before the election within the same election jurisdiction, but outside your precinct, and did not transfer your registration, you can vote on a ballot for federal offices only after completing an address correction form.

If you moved within 30 days before the election outside of your precinct, but you still live in the State, and did not transfer your registration, you can vote a full ballot in your old polling place after completing an affidavit.

If you moved more than 30 days before the election out of your county or municipality under a board of election commissioners and did not transfer your registration, you cannot vote.

If admitted to a health care facility (hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation center) NOT MORE than five days before the election:

  1. Obtain an "Application for Ballot for Qualified Voter Admitted to Hospital, Nursing Home or Rehabilitation Center." The application can be obtained from your election authority (county clerk or board of election commissioners, depending on where you are registered to vote).
  2. You must complete the application and your physician must complete and sign the "Certificate of Attending Physician" section of the application.
  3. After the form is completed and signed by you and your physician, a registered voter from your precinct or your relative can then hand deliver the application to the election authority's office.
  4. After signing an affidavit, the precinct voter or your relative may personally hand deliver the absentee ballot to you in the health care facility.
  5. When you receive the ballot, vote the ballot in secret and complete the certification on the absentee ballot return envelope.
  6. After depositing your voted ballot in the return envelope and securely sealing the envelope, give the envelope to the precinct voter or to your relative who must deliver it to the election authority in sufficient time for the ballot to be delivered to the proper polling place before 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Remember that only those persons who are admitted to a health care facility NOT MORE than 5 days before an election are entitled to personal delivery of an absentee ballot.

If you were admitted to a health care facility more than five days before the election, you may vote by regular absentee ballot.  For more information on absentee voting please click here.

Voter Assistance In a Healthcare Facility

Assistance is the actual casting of votes for a voter in accordance with the voter's wishes. Assistance can be given by a friend or relative, but cannot be given by an officer or agent of the voter's employer or the voter's union. A candidate whose name appears on the ballot is also prohibited from assisting a physically incapacitated absentee voter unless the candidate is the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of the incapacitated absentee voter. This would prohibit precinct committeemen from giving assistance in a primary election. If assistance is given, the name and address of the person giving assistance must be provided on the certification envelope.

For additional information about health care facility voting contact your local county clerk or board of election commissioner's office.