How to Vote in Illinois’ 2024 Elections

Posted on 04/29/24 by Elissa Chudwin

En español

Important dates and election information

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  • First day of early voting: Thursday, Sept. 26
  • Last day to register by mail: Tuesday, Oct. 8 (postmarked)
  • Last day to register online: Sunday, Oct. 20
  • Deadline to request mail ballot via mail: Thursday, Oct. 31 (received)
  • Last day of early voting: Monday, Nov. 4
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

  • Mail voting: Any registered voter in Illinois may cast a vote-by-mail ballot without a reason.
  • Early voting: Early voting begins Thursday, Sept. 26, and runs through Monday, Nov. 4. Early voting sites and hours will become available closer to the general election.
  • Voting at the polls: Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Your signature typically is all you’ll need to vote at a polling station.

Recent voting changes in Illinois

A 2023 law may change how you vote in 2024:

  • Jurisdictions with more than 500,000 people are required to have two vote centers. Previously, it was just one.
  • Teens age 16 and 17 will automatically be preregistered to vote when they receive their driver’s license, unless they opt out.

How to register to vote

  • Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register or update an application. You’ll need your Illinois driver’s license or state ID card number, date of issue and the last four digits of your Social Security number. The online registration deadline for the general election is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20.
Early voting for 2024 primary election continues in Chicago
A voter shows an ''I voted'' sticker at a polling station in Chicago.
Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu/Getty Images

  • By mail: Download, print and fill out a registration form. Mail your completed form to your local election authority or the Illinois Board of Elections Voter Registration Department (2329 S. MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, IL 62704). Include a copy of your current and valid photo identification or a current utility bill, bank statement or other government document with your name and address. Your mail-in registration form must be postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 8.
  • In person: Register at your local election authority. Forms also may be available at some county clerk offices, military recruitment offices, city and village offices, and some public schools and libraries. Regular registration ends Tuesday, Oct. 8, but you can register and cast your ballot during early voting and on Election Day.

Check your registration status

Use the state’s Registration Lookup portal to check your registration status.

What if I miss the voter registration deadline?

After regular registration ends, you can register to vote and cast your ballot at the same time, either at an early voting site from Wednesday, Oct. 9, through Monday, Nov. 4, or on Election Day. Locations will be available online closer to the general election.

You will need to bring two forms of identification to register and vote at the same time, and at least one needs to show your current address. Acceptable forms of ID include your Illinois driver’s license, U.S. passport, a copy of a current utility bill or bank statement.

How to request a vote-by-mail ballot

Starting in August, you can request a vote-by-mail ballot:

  • Online: Go to the state board of elections’ online tool, select your county and follow the prompts to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Vote-by-mail ballot applications must be received online and by mail by Thursday, Oct. 31. Hand-delivered applications must be received by Monday, Nov. 4, but you’re encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Military or overseas voters can find details and deadlines for voting by mail on the state board of elections website.

Returning a vote-by-mail ballot

  • By mail: Completed vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 5) and received no later than Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Someone else may return your completed vote-by-mail ballot to your election authority, but you and the person returning the ballot must sign the affidavit on your ballot envelope.

Your local election authority may offer online ballot tracking, or you may have to call or email the office to check the status of your ballot.

Voting in person before Election Day

Vote early at your local election authority from Thursday, Sept. 26, through Monday, Nov 4. Additional sites may open in your area on Monday, Oct. 21. Use the state board of elections’ online tool or call your election authority for early voting locations in your area.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Enter your address into the state’s Polling Place Lookup to find your polling station.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

Your signature is typically all you need to vote on Election Day, unless you’re also registering to vote. In that case, bring two forms of ID, and one must include your current address, such as a utility bill. 

If you did not provide identification when you registered by mail and did not bring ID with you to the polls, you may cast a provisional ballot. You’ll also need to complete and sign a provisional voter affidavit. After your provisional ballot is cast, you’ll receive instructions on how to provide additional information to your local election authority.

Voting with a disability

Illinois offers voting by mail to every registered voter.

Information about each jurisdiction’s polling place accessibility will be available closer to the election.

Voters who need assistance filling in their ballot can receive help from either an election official or someone they choose, as long as that person is not an employer or union official.

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published on Dec. 11, 2023, and has been updated with new information about voting in the 2024 elections.

Elissa Chudwin covers federal and state policy and writes the podcast Today’s Tips from AARP. She previously worked as a digital producer for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, and as an editor for Advocate magazines in Dallas.

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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