Illinois Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated March 22, 2016
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Postmarked 28 days before the election. You can also go in-person to your local elections office to register and vote all at once during the "grace period," which ends 3 days before Election day.
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received no later than 5 days before the election (by mail). Received by the day before the election (in person).
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked the day before the election

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool. Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  

You can also use the Illinois state registration form.  Mail your completed, signed, to your County Election Authority.

Verify your voter registration

It's best to verify your voter registration before applying for your absentee ballot.  If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Good news! Any registered any registered Illinois voter may vote by absentee ballot.

Please contact your Local Election Official if you have any questions about your eligbility to vote by absentee ballot.

Apply for your absentee ballot

Illinois state law dictates that absentee ballot applications cannot be made available until 40 days before an election. If it's 40 days or less until the election, you can contact your Local Election Authority and see if they have an online application.

You can also download the Illinois absentee ballot application.  Complete and sign your application, and return it to your Local Election Authority.  

Your application must be received at least 5 days before the election if you need your absentee ballot mailed to you.  You can submit your application in person up until the day before the election.

Disabled voters, nursing home residents, and care facility residents: 
You can use the Application for Illinois Absentee Voter's 5 Year Identification Card Form to automatically receive absentee ballot applications (not absentee ballots!) for every every election for the next five years.  We recommend submitting this form two months before the next election (since they'll respond by mailing you an application, and not an actual absentee ballot).  If it's less than 40 days until the next election, submit a regular absentee ballot application as well. 

Receive, vote and return your absentee ballot

Your county election authority will process your application and mail you an absentee ballot within one day of receiving your application.  Fill out your ballot in secret, insert the ballot into the provided envelope, and seal it.  Complete and sign the certification on the back and mail the completed absentee ballot to your Local Election Authority.  Your absentee ballot MUST be postmarked the day before the election.  Election judges of both parties will confirm the signature on your application with the signature on your voter registration form, much like what is done on election day.  If the signatures don't match, your absentee ballot will be rejected.  If they do, your vote will be counted!

Additional Information

State Election Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


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