Voting FAQ

Let’s start with Illinois voting basics!

  • You must be a United States Citizen.
  • 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.
  • You must live in your election precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • You must not be serving a sentence of confinement in any penal institution as a result of a conviction.
  • You may not claim the right to vote anywhere else.

You can register to vote online, register by mail, with a voter registrar, at the DMV – or register at the office of your election authority. These methods have various deadlines. 

  • THE DETAILS
    • ONLINE (Deadline: March 1, 2020)
      To register online for the March 17, 2020 primary, you must complete an Online Voter Application: https://ova.elections.il.gov/
      If you register online, you need to bring your proof of identification the first time you vote.
    • “REGULAR” Registration (Deadline: February 18, 2020):
      You can send in a voter registration form by mail,  register with a voter registrar (who mails in the form for you), or register at the county clerk’s office at any time until approximately a month prior to the election.
    • AT THE POLLS, which is sometimes referred to as “grace period,” or “late” registration: You can register each day of voting at the office of the election authority. Make sure you bring the appropriate identification, and be prepared to vote – you must vote that day!
    • If you are registering for the first time, you should plan on showing “proof of identification” the first time you vote. Proof of identification includes:
      1. A current and valid photo identification or
      2. A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address.

    You can vote by mail, vote early at various locations, or vote on election day at your polling location.

    Your sample ballot will be posted approximately 6 weeks prior to Election Day by your local election authority (usually the County Clerk). 

    Find out the contact information for your election authority here: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/ElectionAuthorities.aspx

    Before the sample ballot is available, you can determine the districts where you live by researching your current representatives: https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx

    • Social media sites can provide insights into the person’s activities. More details information can be found on candidates’ web pages.
    • Candidate web pages will have specific stances on policy issues. In addition, it should contain information on events the candidate will be attending.
    • Website resources:
      • Ballotpedia
        https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page
        This site has a broad overview of legislators and races across the country. Ballotpedia also has state-specific pages. 
      • Countable
        https://www.countable.us/
        On the Countable website and app, you can read clear and succinct summaries of upcoming and active legislation, directly tell your lawmakers how to vote on those bills by clicking “Yea” or “Nay”, and follow up on how your elected officials voted on bills, so you can hold them accountable in the next election cycle.
      • League of Women Voters of Illinois
        https://www.lwvil.org/
        The League of Women Voters does the following:
        • registers voters
        • sponsors candidate debates (oftentimes are livestreamed)
        • publishes voters guides
        • conducts public policy research
        • holds conferences on key issues
      • Open Secrets 
        https://www.opensecrets.org/
        This website provides “tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives” (Open Secrets). It includes information related to federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis.

      Be An Informed Voter!

      The following slide show provides an overview of links and tools you can use to be an informed voter!