Voting 101

Voting Information

In response to patron questions about voting, HPL's put together a Voting 101 page to help answer your questions and get you ready for Election Day! Take a look through the information and resources below. You'll learn how to register to vote, how you can vote in person or by mail, and where your polling place is at.  

What are the Requirements to Vote in Illinois?

How do I Register to Vote?

I'm Registered to Vote. What are the Ways to Vote?

Where is My Polling Place?

What is My Mail Ballot Status?

I Didn't Register! Can I Still Vote?

I Don't Live in Cook County, What Do I Do?

What are the Voting Rights for the Formerly Incarcerated and for Jail Detainees?

How can I Apply to Become an Election Judge or Polling Place Technician?

Whoops! I Thought this was the Homewood Library in Alabama!

Voting Resources

Video Summary of How to Vote in Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the Requirements to Vote in Illinois?

  • 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

    • CLICK HERE for Voting Rights for the Formerly Incarcerated & for Jail Detainees

  • You may not claim the right to vote anywhere else

 

 

 

 

 

How do I Register to Vote?

If you qualify to vote, then the next step is to register! You can register to vote one of the three ways below:

1. ONLINE via the Cook County Clerk website - Deadline Sunday, October 18

  • You will need an Illinois Driver's license or State ID

  • Register online at the Cook County Clerk website CLICK HERE

 

 

2. MAIL - Postmarked by Tuesday, October 6

  • You can print and mail an application to:

Cook County Clerk's Office
69 W. Washington, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60602
  • Here are the applications you can print. More languages are provided at the Cook County Clerk website HERE

ENGLISH 

ESPANOL

 

 

3. IN PERSON - By October 6

You can also register to vote in person with a certified registrar by going to:

 

 

 

 

 

I'm Registered to Vote. What are the Ways to Vote?

Once you are registered to vote, there are three ways to vote in suburban Cook County for the 2020 Presidential Elections. You can participate in Early Voting, Vote By Mail or vote on Election Day at your assigned polling place. For more information, click on the links below.

For the 2020 Presidential Election, traditional Early Voting will take place October 19 – November 2. As a reminder, voters who participate in Early Voting must vote in person.

 

  • Vote by Mail (Illinois students in school Out of State, look here)

Mail Ballot applications for the 2020 Presidential Election will be accepted starting June 18, 2020. You do not need an excuse to vote absentee. Any registered suburban Cook County voter with a driver’s license, state ID or social security number on file may request a mail ballot.

Application to Vote by Mail:

Cook County Clerk's Office
Mail Voting Unit
69 W. Washington St., Room 500
Chicago, IL 60602
  • Once you receive your Mail Ballot, you must be postmark your Mail Ballot by Election Day (November 3) in order for it to be counted.

 

Can I drop off my Mail Ballot instead?

Yes. Before Election Day you can drop your mail ballot off at any Early Voting locations into a secure drop box. On Election Day mail ballots can be brought to the Cook County Clerk's downtown office at 69 W. Washington St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL. 

  • CLICK HERE for Early Voting locations where you can drop off your mail ballot. 

 

 

On Election Day you can vote in your home precinct from 6am - 7pm. If you are not registered to vote, you may register and cast a ballot on Election Day thanks to same-day registration and voting. Those who wish to register on Election Day must present two qualifying forms of ID (ex. utility bill and valid photo identification)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is My Polling Place?

You can find your polling place by Clicking Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is My Mail Ballot Status?

You can find out your mail ballot status by Clicking Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Didn't Register! Can I Still Vote?

Don't worry! If you miss both voter registration deadlines, you may still register to vote during the Grace Period or on Election Day. Here are the links for more information below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Don't Live in Cook County, What Do I Do?

If you don't live in Cook County, check out these other county clerk websites for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the Voting Rights for the Formerly Incarcerated and for Jail Detainees?

Voting Rights for the Formerly Incarcerated:

Formerly incarcerated citizens who have served their time are eligible to register and vote in Illinois.  While there are states with restrictions on voting rights for the formerly incarcerated, in Illinois there is no distinction between formerly incarcerated community members (regardless of their crime) and their fellow citizens. The Clerk’s office encourages every eligible citizen to register at their current address and take an active role in our democratic process.

 

Voting Rights for Jail Detainees:

The Cook County Clerk’s office wants to make sure that Cook County jail detainees are able to exercise their right to vote.

Jail detainees largely are eligible to vote – disenfranchisement laws don’t apply to someone who is awaiting trial – as they haven’t been convicted of a crime, and often, they are being held in jail because they can’t afford bail before their trial.

The Clerk’s office works with volunteers from advocacy and legal groups to give detainees the opportunity to both register and vote.

Detainees vote at the Jail, using mail ballots they have previously requested from visiting Clerk’s staff and volunteers. Voting day for detainees takes place on a specific day, usually a week before Election Day, during the Early Voting period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How can I Apply to Become an Election Judge or Polling Place Technician?

CLICK HERE to learn how you can make some extra cash while helping on election day!

 

 

 

 

 

Whoops! I thought this was the Homewood Library in Alabama!

If you went on the wrong website, don't worry! We got you covered. 

And here's a video about voting in requirements in Alabama:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voting Resources

Cook County Clerk

Cook County Clerk Twitter Feed & Facebook Page

Cook County Government

Campus Vote Project

HPL's book list on Voting Rights

Illinois State Board of Elections

League of Women Voters

NBC News Plan Your Vote map - State by State

Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote

Rock the Vote

Voting and Elections

Vote.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Summary of How to Vote in Illinois