Primary voting begins in Illinois: Here are how-tos, FAQs

Primary voting begins in Illinois: Here are how-tos, FAQs

May 19 was the start of voting for the June 28 primary for early in-person voting and for those who’ve requested mail-in ballots.

Illinois citizens who want their voices heard in the community can take the first step by voting early in the June 28 primary election.

Polls opened May 19 for in-person early voting and for mail-in voting for the primary. Primaries are key to rooting out corruption by creating the competition that holds incumbents accountable by ensuring voters have choices.

What is early voting?

Registered voters can go to their election authority or early voting site and vote early for any reason from May 19 until June 27, the day before the primary election. A list of local election authorities can be found at the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Early votes are not counted until after polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, June 28.

What is vote by mail?

Registered voters can apply to vote by mail, but must do so no later than five days before the election: June 23. No reason is needed. The system replaced Illinois’ absentee ballot system in 2016. May 19 was the first day to submit completed mail-in ballots. 

Is voting by mail safe?

Voting by mail is secure, simple and backed by Illinoisans of all major political parties. Members of the U.S. military have used absentee voting since the American Revolution, and many Union soldiers voted by mail during the Civil War.

How do I vote by mail?

  • Request a vote-by-mail application and return it to your local election authority. Applications to vote by mail are currently being accepted.
  • Complete an application to vote by mail online if your local election authority provides that service. Online forms can be completed through June 23. You can find your local election authority at the ISBE website. Once at the local authority, check whether they offer an online application to vote by mail. 
  • A vote-by-mail application from your local election authority’s website can also be printed and mailed. Or the authority may offer other ways to obtain an application. Again, the application must be received by June 23.
  • After receiving your mail-in ballot, fill it out and sign the affidavit on the ballot envelope. Return it to your local election authority by mail, at a drop box or in person. By mail, it must be postmarked by June 28, Election Day, and received by July 12. If your election authority has a drop box, your mail-in ballot will be accepted until 7 p.m., June 28. That is the same deadline for delivering a mail-in ballot in person to the local election authority. More info on finding your local election authority and the available options is at the ISBE website. Some municipalities have their own election authorities, which are listed below the county authorities on the ISBE drop-down menu.

Can I permanently get my ballot by mail?

Yes. On the vote-by-mail application, just check the option that reads: “I wish to vote by mail in all subsequent elections and wish to receive the party ballot indicated below in all elections that require a party designation.” Illinois has partisan primary elections, so you must choose a party affiliation and can only vote in that party’s primary.

What are the important dates to remember?

  • May 19: First day of in-person, early voting. First day to mail or deliver a vote-by-mail ballot.
  • June 23 – Last day for vote-by-mail request to be completed online or received by the election authority if mailed.
  • June 27 – Last day of early, in-person voting.
  • June 28– Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Last day to get mail-in ballots postmarked. Last day to drop off mail-in ballots at the election authority either in the office or by using a drop box, with both closing at 7 p.m.
  • July 12 – Last day election authorities will accept mail-in ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day, June 28.

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