How to Vote in Illinois' 2022 Elections

Posted on 04/21/22 by Catherine Maddux

En español | Illinois’ June 28 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and Illinois General Assembly, for governor, lt. governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other state-wide and municipal offices.

What's new this year?

The state has approved redistricting maps for U.S. congressional and state legislative seats that may change which candidates appear on your ballot.

Essential information?

  • Mail in ballots: Illinois is a no-excuse vote by mail state, permitting all registered voters to safely cast a ballot from home. 
  • Early in-person voting: Cast your ballot early and in person for the primary from May 19 until June 27 and from Sept. 29 until Nov. 7 for the general.
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The primary is June 28 and the general election – a state holiday in Illinois – is Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A Voter enters the fire station polling

How do I register to vote?

The deadline to register online is June 12 for the primary and Oct. 23 for the general.

  • By mail:  You can download a voter registration form from the State Board of Election’s website. Print it, fill it out and mail it to your local election authority in your jurisdiction, which you can find by using the search tool on the election board’s website.
  • In person: Available at select public schools and libraries, military recruitment offices, local election authorities and county clerk offices in some jurisdictions. Contact your local election authority to find locations in your jurisdiction.

The deadline to registration by mail or in person is June 1 for the primary and Oct. 22 for the general election. Make sure your mailed registration form is post-marked before the deadline.

If you miss the deadline, Illinois also permits same-day registration, also known a grace period registration – registering to vote and casting a ballot on Election Day.  Same-day voter registration is only available in-person at sites authorized by local election authorities.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

Voters do not have to declare party affiliation to participate in primary elections or while registering to vote. But you can only vote on one party’s ballot in the primary.

How can I get a vote by mail application? Are there important deadlines?

  • Online: Use the Illinois Board of Election’s online tool to apply for a mail-in ballot. Applications for mail-in ballots open on March 30 for the primary and Aug. 10 for the general.
  • By mail and in person: Download an application from the state board of elections’ website, fill it out and mail or deliver it in person to the election authority in your jurisdiction.  The deadline to apply for a vote by mail ballot is June 23 for the primary and Nov. 3 for the general.

Completed mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by local officials within two weeks of an election – between June 14 and June 28 for the primary and between Oct. 25 and Nov. 8 for the general. You can also place your completed mail-in ballot in a secure drop box or take it to a vote center in your local jurisdiction. Or hand deliver your mail-in ballot at your polling place on Election Day. Contact your local election authority to find out where to drop your ballot on Election Day.

Can I track my mail-in ballot?

Your local election authority may offer online ballot tracking or require voters to call or email the office to check their mail-in ballot status. Read the instructions sent with your mail-in ballot to find out how your jurisdiction tracks voted ballots. A list of state election authorities and contact information is available on the Illinois Board of Elections website. Call the Chicago office at 312-814-6440 or the Springfield office at 217-782-4141 for more information.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes. Early voting begins on May 19 for the primary and Sept. 29 for the general. Use the state board of election’s online tool to find locations for early voting and Election Day vote centers.

When is Election Day? When are the polls open?

The primary is June 28 and the general election — a state holiday — is Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find your polling place online.

Do I need identification to vote?

Only if you do same-day registration – registering and voting on Election Day. In that case you’ll need two forms of ID, such as a driver’s license, a state ID card or Social Security card (at least one ID needs to  show your current address). Other acceptable IDs include copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Your signature is considered your ID and is all you will need if you vote at a polling station on Election Day.

What races are on the ballot?

  • U.S. Senate: 1 seat. Sen. Tammy Duckworth is running for re-election
  • U.S. House of Representatives: All 17 seats; Illinois lost a seat in the House, as determined by population decline in the 2020 census.
  • Illinois State Senate: All 59 seats
  • Illinois House of Representatives: All 118 seats
  • Governor
  • Lt. Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of State
  • Treasurer
  • Comptroller

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on April 21 with information about how to vote in 2022. The guide was first published on Aug. 20, 2020.

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP Illinois. Visit the AARP Illinois page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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