Illinois’s March 20 primaries — which feature a series of highly contested local, state and federal races — are fast approaching. Do you feel ready to head to the polls?
If not, don’t worry: There’s still plenty of time to prep, even amid the chaos of finals, spring break and everything else in between. Here’s a quick guide to all your voting questions.
How do I figure out where to cast my vote?
Your polling precinct is based on the address listed in your voter registration information. To verify your polling place, you can look up your voter information using this search tool on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ website.
A note: your closest polling place may not be fully disability-accessible, but the Board “strives to use accessible early voting sites,” according to its website.
What if I’ll be out of town, or can’t take off work on Election Day?
You’ve got two options. The first is to vote early — the early voting period began March 5 and will continue through March 19 at 51 neighborhood locations throughout the city.
If you’re already registered at your current address, using the same name you used in the last election and voting in the correct precinct, no ID is required. However, if you need to make a change to your name or address, you’ll have to present two forms of ID, and at least one must include your address. Accepted forms of ID range from a driver’s license to a credit card to a utility bill. (You can find a full list here.)
You can also apply to vote by mail, but do it soon — your ballot needs to be completed, stamped and returned to your voting jurisdiction by March 15. Because of potential postal delays, the Board recommends applying before Tuesday, March 13.
What if I’m not registered yet?
You can still vote! If you missed the February 20 registration deadline, the state offers a grace period that allows you to register in person during the early voting period, as long as you show up to a location within your voting precinct with two forms of ID. Illinois is also one of 15 states that offers same-day registration, which — you guessed it — allows you to register on Election Day.
What if I’m already registered in a different state?
It’s not illegal to be registered in two states as long as you only cast one ballot — depending on which type of technology your home state uses, you may even be automatically unregistered once you register as an Illinois voter. Even so, the Board recommends that you send a notice to your home election authority to notify them of your changed voting status.
Will I have to register with a particular party?
Illinois has an open primary, which means you can vote in any party’s election; however, you have to affiliate with a party to vote in its primary.
Header illustration by Cody Corrall