Voter Registration Requirements

  • You need to be a United States citizen.
  • You need to be 18 or older on Election Day.
  • You need to have been a resident of the precinct in which you'd like to register for at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • You can't claim the right to vote anywhere else.
  • You can't currently be imprisoned for a criminal conviction.
  • If you're a first-time voter who registers by mail, you're required to submit proof of identification either at the time of registration or when you vote. You can include a copy of your identification with your registration form today! Acceptable forms of ID include: a current utility bill, bank statement, valid photo ID, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Don't forget -- your state may have additional ID requirements when you go to the polls.

If you have additional questions about voting in Illinois, please contact:

Illinois State Board of Elections: (312)-814-6440;

Registration Deadline

  • Postmarked by: 28 days before Election Day.
  • In person: Through the seventh day before Election Day (known as "Grace Period Registration").

Felony Information

Under Illinois law, if you have been sentenced to jail or prison for a misdemeanor or a felony, you may register and vote when you have been released. For more information, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections' website or call them at 217-782-4141.

Information for Students

  • You must be a resident of the state in which you register and vote. If you're a student from Illinois who attends school in another state, you may need to determine whether you're an Illinois resident or a resident of the state where you attend school. The important thing to keep in mind is that you may only cast your vote in one state.
  • Here's what Illinois says about residency: Residency is defined as your "principal or primary home" -- that is, a permanent dwelling place to which you have an intention to return whenever you're absent. In determining residency, some of the factors that are considered include: motor vehicle registration, employment, income sources, residence for income or other tax pursuits, and residence of parents.
  • If you determine you're an Illinois resident, but will not be present in this state or will be away from your home district on Election Day, be sure to check the absentee ballot application requirements and deadlines. In addition, Illinois residents who attend school in-state, but in a different election district, may be eligible to register and vote in the election district where they live while attending school.
  • To determine whether you're a resident of a different state where you attend school, be sure to check that state's residency requirements.

Identification Information

Generally, identification is not required to vote at the polls.

First-time voters who registered by mail may need to show one of the following: Current and valid photo identification, Utility bill, Government check, Paycheck, or Government document with the voter's name and address. Voters who vote during the early voting period must provide a valid photo identification.

Valid forms of ID for Early Voting are: an Illinois driver's license, a non-driver's ID card issued by the Illinois Secretary of State, a photo ID card issued by a university or college, or another government-issued identification document containing the applicant's photograph.

Same Day Registration


Early Voting Information

In Illinois, you don't have to wait until Election Day to vote. You can skip Election Day lines and vote early at a time that's convenient for you.

Vote Early In Person

All voters are eligible to vote early in person - no excuse is needed.

You can vote early in person at designated Early Voting Centers beginning on October 15, 2012 through November 1, 2012.

Vote Early By Mail

All voters in Illinois may vote early by mail - no excuse is needed.

To vote early by mail, contact your County Clerk or Board of Elections Commissioner to submit an application for an absentee ballot.

If you mail in your absentee ballot application, your County Clerk or Board of Elections Commissioner must receive it by November 1, 2012. If you deliver your application in person, it must be received by prior to Election Day. To ensure that you are able to return your absentee ballot on time, make sure to submit your application as soon as possible.

Once you have completed you ballot, you must return it postmarked by day prior to Election Day, and the County Clerk or Board of Elections Commissioner must receive it by 2 weeks after Election Day. If you deliver your absentee ballot in person, it must be received by 7:00pm on Election Day.

Secretary of State