© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Voter Guide: How to register to vote in Illinois

Guadalupe Hernandez, of Fairmont City, deposits her ballot into a vote collection machine on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, during the 2022 Primary Election at the Fairmont City Community Center in Fairmont City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Guadalupe Hernandez, of Fairmont City, deposits her ballot in a vote collection machine in June 2022 during a primary election at the Community Center in Fairmont City.

Illinois has more than 8.7 million registered voters. If you’re not one of them, this guide will help you sign up and make your voice heard in the next election.

Voters in Illinois can begin casting ballots in primary elections at 17 years old but have to be 18 or older to vote in general elections. The state holds open primaries, which allow voters to participate in any party’s primary, but they publicly select which party’s ballot to cast.

Here's how you can register to vote in Illinois:

  • Print a paper application (forms in English and Spanish are available) and mail the completed document to your local election authority.
  • Register in person at a county clerk's office, municipal election commission office, public library, Department of Motor Vehicles office or military recruitment office. 

If you have moved or changed your name since the last election, you’ll need to update your voter registration information using the same forms linked above.

Standard registration closes 28 days before an election, but it’s a soft deadline. Illinoisans who miss it can still show up in person at a local election authority office to register and vote the same day through the state’s grace period program.

Not sure of your registration status? Use the state’s voter lookup tool on the Board of Elections website. You’ll need to enter your first and last name, birth date and postal code.

How can I register to vote during Illinois’ grace period?

First, find an eligible polling place accepting grace period registrations by using the state’s election authority locator tool. If you register during the grace period, you must vote at the same time.

To register and vote during the grace period you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen. 
  • Meet the state’s age requirements for voting.
  • Be a resident of the precinct for at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • Bring two forms of ID — at least one must have your current address.

How do I vote in person?

In-person and curbside voting polls are generally open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters who are in line by 7 p.m. are still allowed to cast a ballot — so stay in line even if the polls close.

Your polling place is determined by where you live but may have changed since the last time you voted. Find your polling station on the state Board of Elections website.

Do I need a photo ID to vote in Illinois?

In Illinois, you don’t need to show identification to vote, but you must verify your signature. If you registered to vote by mail and did not submit any ID with the registration, you must show a form of ID to vote.

Acceptable forms include:

  • A current and valid photo ID
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Lease or contract for residence
  • Student ID and mail addressed to voter's residence
  • Government document

What else would you want to know about voter registration in Illinois? Send questions and comments to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.