Illinois voters in many areas can start filling out their ballots on Thursday, as the midterm elections, which culminate on Nov. 8, get into full swing.
Voters can make their voices heard in a number of big-ticket races this year, including the election of an Illinois governor, U.S. senator, representatives in the U.S. House and, in some areas of the state, Illinois Supreme Court justices.
If past trends hold true, more than 4 million people may cast their vote well ahead of Election Day. Here’s a quick look at the various options you have to cast your vote:
Polls will be open on Nov. 8 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and do not require you to show an ID if you’re already registered to vote, though you might be required to show an ID if an election judge challenges your right to vote or if you’re registering to vote that day. If you’ve moved within 30 days before Election Day, you can update your vote registration information on-site, but you must bring two forms of ID (see examples of what kinds of ID qualify), one with your updated address.
More information about your voting locations can be found at your local election authority’s website:
Illinois has one of the longest early voting periods of any state in the U.S. — nearly double the national average — with in-person polls opening as much as 40 days before and running through Election Day. Voters in Chicago’s collar counties can begin to cast their ballot early in-person on Thursday, Sept. 29, and same-day registration is available at all early voting sites as well.
Early voting locations and start dates in the collar counties:
DuPage County residents can vote early starting Sept. 29 at Building 5 of the DuPage County Fairgrounds, with 21 more voting sites opening Oct. 24.
Kane County voters can early vote starting Sept. 29 at the Kane County Clerk’s office at 719 S. Batavia Ave. in Geneva or at the Clerk’s satellite office in Aurora at 5 E. Downer Place. Additional voting locations open Oct. 24.
Kendall County residents can vote early starting Sept. 29 at the Kendall County Clerk’s office at 111 W. Fox St. in Yorkville. Additional voting locations open Oct. 24.
Lake County voters can cast their ballots in the main courthouse lobby at 18 N. County St. in Waukegan starting Sept. 29, with additional sites open Oct. 24.
McHenry County residents can vote early at the McHenry County Administration Building at 667 Ware Road in Woodstock starting Sept. 29, with more voting sites open Oct. 24.
Will County voters can vote early starting Sept. 29 at the Will County Clerk’s Office at 302 N. Chicago St. in Joliet, with more voting sites open Oct. 24.
However, early voting begins later for Chicago and Cook County residents.
Chicago voters can cast their ballots early starting Oct. 7 at either 191 N. Clark St. or the 6th floor of 69 W. Washington. Each of the city’s 50 wards will open their own early voting locations beginning Oct. 24.
Suburban Cook County residents can vote early in-person in the pedway of 69 W. Washington in Chicago starting Oct. 12. Early voting in specific suburban locations also begins Oct. 24.
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can do so online through the Illinois State Board of Elections registration portal through Oct. 23, or in-person at early voting or Election Day polling precincts, driver’s license facilities, libraries or the office of the election authority. To register in-person, residents need to show two forms of ID, at least one of which must have your current address. Those who want to register to vote must have lived in their location for at least 30 days prior to Election Day, must be a U.S. citizen and must be 18 years old by Nov. 8, 2022 — the date of the general election.
Vote by mail
Illinois residents can already file requests for a mail-in ballot. You must have your request for a mail-in ballot received by your local election authority by Nov. 3. You can apply online for your mail-in ballot through your local election authority.
But, if you’ve voting by mail, you have to get it postmarked by Nov. 8, and it has to be received by your local election authority no later than 14 days after the election.
Or, you can drop them in-person at your local election office, or into a secure drop box at early voting locations. Check your local election authority’s website to see how late and where you can drop off your mail-in ballot. In Chicago, for example, early voting sites (but not precinct polling places) will have drop boxes accessible through Nov. 8. But in some locales in the region, Nov. 7 may be the last day to drop off an early ballot.
Illinois has also started a program where you can enroll to automatically receive a mail-in ballot in all future elections, if you opt-in to the program.
You can apply online to vote by mail through your local election authority’s website until Nov. 3:
WBEZ’s Tony Arnold is an editor for government and politics. Follow @tonyjarnold.