Illinois absentee and mail ballot guide
Illinois absentee ballot overview
Absentee ballots and mail ballots are the same thing, and the process for getting one is straight forward.
- Request your ballot by the deadline
- Receive your in ballot in the mail
- Return your ballot by the deadline
Illinois absentee deadlines
- Earliest day to apply: 90 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (online): 5 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (by mail): Received by 5 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (in person): 1 day before Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (by mail): Postmarked by Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (in person): Received by Election Day
Illinois absentee ballot rules
Any registered Illinois voter may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Illinois online ballot request
Some cities or counties in Illinois allow you to request your ballot online. Request your ballot with our tool to determine if yours does. If an online request portal is not available for your area, our tool will email you a ballot request form that you can print, sign, and mail.
Illinois by-mail ballot request
- Download the Illinois absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Print the application.
- Sign and date your application. This is very important.
- Mail or hand-deliver your completed application directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
- If it’s close to the deadline, call your local election office and see if they will let you submit your application via email or fax.
- Your application must be received by 5 days before Election Day.
Illinois in-person ballot request
- Visit your local election office.
- Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Sign and date your application.
- The deadline to apply in person is 1 day before Election Day.
After you receive your ballot
- Carefully read and follow the instructions, and fill out all required fields.
- Sign and date the outside envelope.
- Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your local election office. You can also hand-deliver your ballot to a drop box if one is available nearby. You can use our Find Out Where To Vote tool to find an official drop box.
- If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked by Election Day.
- If you hand-deliver your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you miss the deadline – or forget to sign the outside envelope – your vote will not be counted.
Illinois absentee ballot ID requirements
- ID required when requesting a mail-in ballot:
Online application: You can apply online if you have an Illinois driver's license number or Illinois state ID number. Paper application: The signature on your application will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match.
- ID required when returning a mail-in ballot:
Your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. If you forget to sign the return envelope, your ballot might be rejected.
Illinois absentee ballot tracker
Illinois does not have a statewide ballot tracker. Contact your local election office.
Illinois absentee ballot curing
Ballot curing is the process of resolving any problems with your absentee or mail ballot to ensure that your vote is counted. After tracking your ballot, contact your local election office to fix any issues that have been noted.
- Your ballot will be rejected if you forget to sign it or if the signature does not match the one that the state has on file for you.
- You have 14 days to fix the issues with your ballot in order for it to be counted.
Illinois emergency ballots
Some states have special procedures that allow you to obtain an emergency ballot if a medical or other emergency occurs after the standard absentee ballot application window.
Emergency Ballot Rules
You can apply for an emergency absentee ballot if you are hospitalized within 14 days of Election Day. You can designate another voter to pick up your emergency ballot and bring it to you.
Dates & Deadlines
- Emergency ballot request ends Election Day
- Emergency ballot return deadline is 7PM Election Day
Contact your local election office
Local election office
Contact your local election office if you have questions.
Statewide election office
This is the statewide agency that is ultimately responsible for Illinois elections. You can contact them with questions, but your local election office will probably respond faster.
State Board of Elections 2329 S. MacArthur Boulevard Springfield, IL 62704