What you need to know about voting in Illinois’ upcoming local elections

What you need to know about voting in Illinois’ upcoming local elections

Voting has started in many Illinois counties for the April 4 consolidated election for early, in-person voting and for those who’ve requested mail-in ballots. Here’s your guide to voting in the upcoming election.

The upcoming April 4 consolidated election will allow Illinoisans to vote on many local and area races, including candidates for township, municipal, park, library, school and other elective special district offices.

Decisions made by leaders in the 6,032 units of local governments and school districts in Illinois are a big driver of property taxes. Illinoisans already pay the nation’s second-highest property taxes. The upcoming election will give voters an opportunity to impact who sits in those local offices and decide matters which affect their property tax bill, local communities and schools.

Here’s what you need to know to vote in the April 4 consolidated election:

How do I vote early?

Registered voters can now go to their local county clerk’s office to vote early in many counties. Check with your local county clerk’s office to learn when early voting will expand to more locations.

For voters residing in counties that held a primary election on Feb. 28, the ballot for the April 4 consolidated election may not be certified until as late as March 21 while election authorities certify results. Again, check with your local county clerk’s office to learn when early voting will be available in your county.

Who can vote by mail?

Registered voters can easily apply to vote by mail in the consolidated election here. No specific reason is required. This system offers Illinoisans a convenient way to vote and allows them to complete ballots from the comfort and privacy of their homes, with the option of researching as they vote.

How do I get my vote-by-mail ballot?

The application period to vote by mail in the upcoming municipal election is now open. To apply to vote by mail, find your local election authority here and follow the steps outlined by the jurisdiction in which you are registered. Some jurisdictions offer an online application while others will require you to print and return a paper application to your local election authority.

The application to vote by mail must be sent to the election authority for the jurisdiction in which you are registered.

Applications are currently being accepted and must be received by March 30, five days prior to the April 4 election.

How do I cast my vote-by-mail ballot?

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, follow all instructions to complete it. The signed and sealed ballot return envelope may be sent by mail, placed in a secured drop box or delivered in person to the office of your local election authority.

Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by April 4. If returning the mail-in ballot in person, you must deliver it to the office of your local election authority or, in some election jurisdictions, to a secured drop box location. Check your local jurisdiction to find out if a drop box is offered and, if so, what are the times and deadlines to return your mail-in ballot in person at a drop box location.

Vote-by-mail ballots may also be surrendered to the judges at your local polling place on Election Day and exchanged for a traditional ballot so you can choose to cast a ballot in person on April 4.

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. The system allows you to track your ballot after returning it and ensures no one else uses your identity to vote on Election Day.

What are the important dates to remember?

  • Feb. 23: First day vote-by-mail ballots were mailed to voters, and start of in-person, early voting for counties which did not hold a Feb. 28 primary election.
  • March 30: Last day for vote-by-mail applications to be completed online or received by your local election authority.
  • April 4: Election Day. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Last day to postmark ballot return envelopes for mail-in ballots. Last day to drop off mail-in ballots at the office of your local election authority, or at secured drop boxes in certain counties. Check your local election authority for information on dates and deadlines to return mail-in ballots through secured drop boxes.

Visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website to find your local polling place or a list of secured drop box locations.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!