How to vote in the November election in Illinois

Everything you need to know to get your ballot counted in the 2020 election, from early voting to mail-in ballots to voting on Election Day.

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On the first day of early voting, Fred Blakely, 75, of South Shore, casts his ballot in the March 17 Illinois primary election at the new Loop super site at 191 N. Clark St., Monday morning, March 2, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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The U.S. general election is coming up on Nov. 3, and voters in Illinois will cast ballots for president, U.S. House and Senate, along with state and local offices. Voters will also have the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would allow for a graduated income tax.

Election officials are anticipating a surge in vote-by-mail requests amid the coronavirus pandemic in addition to long lines on Election Day. With so much on the ballot, voters are encouraged to plan ahead to ensure their ballot is counted.

Here’s everything you need to know about voting in Illinois — from registering to requesting an absentee ballot to voting early.

Election Deadlines

Important election deadlines in Illinois

Sept. 24

Early in-person voting begins in Illinois. Early voting dates and locations vary by county and precinct, so check your local board of elections website.

Oct. 1

Early voting begins in Chicago at the Loop Super Site.

Oct. 6

Last day to register to vote in-person or by mail in Illinois.

Oct. 18

Last day to register to vote online in Illinois. Most counties allow for grace period registration or in-person registration on Election Day, though, so check with your county board of elections if you miss this deadline.

Oct. 29

Official last day to request a mail-in (absentee) ballot in Illinois. State election officials recommend requesting a ballot by Oct. 26 to ensure it is delivered to you before Election Day.

Nov. 3

Election Day for in-person voting, and also the day that mail-in ballots must be postmarked by in order to be counted.

Nov. 17

Last day for mail-in ballots to arrive at local election offices to be counted. Ballots arriving after Nov. 17 will not be counted in Illinois.

Cook County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Voters may register in-person on Election Day, but only at their home precinct. Click here to check if you are registered to vote in Cook County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will start to be mailed to voters on Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Oct. 1 for residents of Chicago, Oct. 19 for suburban residents. Early voting ends on Nov. 2.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

DuPage County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Grace-period registration and voting continues until the day before the election. Click here to see if you are registered to vote in DuPage County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will start to be mailed to voters on Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Sept. 24. Click here to see early voting locations in DuPage County.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

Kane County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Grace-period registration and voting continues until the day before the election, but you most vote at the time of registration. Click here to see if you are registered to vote in Kane County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will be mailed to voters starting Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Sept. 24. Click here for early voting locations in Kane County.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

Lake County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Grace-period registration and voting continues until the day before the election, but you most vote at the time of registration. Click here to see if you are registered to vote in Lake County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will be mailed to voters starting Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Sept. 24. Click here for a list of early voting locations in Lake County.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

McHenry County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Click here to see if you are registered to vote in McHenry County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will be mailed to voters starting Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Sept. 24. Click here for a list of early voting sites in McHenry County.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

Will County

  • Last day to register to vote: Oct. 6 in-person or by mail, and Oct. 18 online. Grace-period registration and voting continues until the day before the election, but you most vote at the time of registration. Election Day registration is accepted. Click here to see if you are registered to vote in Will County.
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 29. Ballots will be mailed to voters starting Sept. 24.
  • First day to vote in-person: Sept. 24. Click here for a list of early voting locations in Will County.
  • Ballots postmarked or dropped off by: Nov. 3. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked or dropped off at a designated location by Election Day in order to be counted.

To register to vote, click here. To request a mail-in (absentee) ballot, click here.

Election Guide - Full Guide

2020 Election Voting Guide

This article is part of our Illinois 2020 election voting guide. Click here to see more.

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