How and when do I vote?
- Sample Ballot
- In-Person Early Voting
- Voting by Mail
- Absentee Voting
- Voting in Person at the Polls on Election Day
Sample Ballots are Available Now
One of the best ways to figure out who you want to vote for is by figuring out who and what is on your particular ballot. Go here to find your sample ballot.
In-Person Early Voting
In-person early voting for the March 2020 primaries began February 6.
Information about early voting locations.
Voting by Mail
Voting by mail also began February 6. You can obtain a mail-n ballot in two ways:
- Complete and submit an online application.
- Obtain a paper application by:
What is the difference between mail-in ballots and absentee ballots?
Absentee ballots are for citizens in the military or overseas. Others should use vote-by-mail or early voting.
Voting in Person at the Polls on Election Day 3/17/2020
If you should happen to go to the wrong polling place, a judge should be able to give you directions to the correct location.
What kind of identification do I need to vote in person?
Quoting here from the DuPage Election Commission FAQ:
You are not required to show identification at the polling place if you are registered to vote from the address where you reside. The only exception to this is if you registered BY MAIL and failed to include the necessary identification with the registration. In this case, two forms of identification may be required before casting a ballot, one containing your current address.
What Should I Expect Voting at the Polls on Election Day?
Polls tend to be crowded at the times you would expect: commuting periods and lunch time. Additionally, record turnout is expected in 2020.
If you arrive at the polls by closing time (7pm), it is guaranteed that you will be able to vote.
What happens to my paper ballot when I vote?
When you submit a “fill in the ovals” paper ballot, your votes are immediately tallied electronically by the machine. However, the paper ballots themselves are carefully retained and can be audited if necessary.
If you make an error such as voting for more than the number of candidates allowed in a particular race (an “overvote”), the machine will reject your ballot, which will be marked as “spoiled”, and you can have a fresh ballot to try again.
What happens when I vote with the touch-screen?
The touch-screen machine prints a paper tape, visible to you, recording all your votes.
This tape is carefully retained and can be audited by hand if necessary.
What happens to all of these materials when the polls close?
What happens to the large (“fill-in-the-oval”) paper ballots that go into the tabulator machine?
After the polls close, a “stop card” is run through the machine which prevents it from recording any more votes. Several paper tape copies of the results are printed and signed by judges from both parties. Then, again witnessed by judges, the bin is opened and all ballots are carefully collected. Those with write-ins are kept separate, and all the others are boxed separately.
What happens to the touch-screen voting machines?
As described above, when you finish voting, your votes are printer on a paper tape that is visible to you. At the end of the day, this paper record is signed by all the judges and carefully stored. Additionally, several copies of the vote totals are printed and signed by the judges.
At least one copy of the results from this machine and the paper ballot machine are posted on the window of the polling place for public viewing.
Then what? Where does everything go?
All paper ballots, printed totals, and various other certification documents are transported to the Election Commission at the County Complex by the chief judge plus an assistant of the other party.
I’ve been voting for years. Will Russian hackers remove my registration? How can I check?
There have been attacks on Illinois voting records, but so far the attacks seem confined to scanning rather than alteration of information. The goal of such attacks is primarily to spread confusion and distrust in the system. If you have been voting regularly, there should be no problem. You can easily verify that you are registered here. Do it frequently if you like!
But I’ve never voted before!
Sadly, young people have one of the lowest voting rates. They may be about to leave home, they may feel that they are on campus temporarily or may expect to moving frequently; in any case, they may feel little connection to a community. They may feel cynical about the power of their vote.They may suspect registration is difficult. (It’s easy — see above!)
But young people have the biggest stake in these elections! It is your future that is being determined! Do you want democracy to survive? Do you want your lives to be controlled by a powerful few? Do you want to struggle to survive on an overheated planet?
There’s no single more important (and easy!) thing you can do to impact your future!