Your Rights

Registering to Vote

By law, any U.S. citizen over the age of 18, who has resided in the jurisdiction for 30 days prior to the election and has registered to vote, is eligible to vote in Illinois.

Registering to vote can be done online by using the national voter registration application at www.eac.gov. Or, citizens can contact their state or local board of elections office for a state-specific voter registration form. In Illinois, applications can be downloaded from the Illinois State Board of Elections website at www.elections.il.gov.

Other locations where citizens may register to vote are the County Clerk’s Office, Board of Election Commissioner’s office, city and village offices, township offices, through precinct committeemen, schools, public libraries and military recruitment offices. Some corporations, civic groups and labor groups, as well as some governmental agencies such as public assistance offices, also allow people to register.

The registration process is simple and straightforward. The prospective voter must show two forms of identification with at least one showing the current residence address. Those who register by mail must provide proof of their identity, such as submission of a driver’s license number or State I.D. card number.

Those who lack those documents can submit the last four digits of their social security number, a copy of a current and valid photo I.D., or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document. They should receive their voter verification of registration card in the mail within three weeks from the registration date. Voters who move to another residence do not have to re-register if they live in the same precinct; they simply sign an affidavit at the polling place attesting that they are the same person. If a voter’s name changes, he or she must re-register to vote. Also, if a voter registration card is lost or stolen, the voter will need to complete another registration affidavit and obtain a new card.

It is against the law for any person to make a false statement or claim or submit false identification to indicate that they are citizens in order to register to vote. It is also against the law for anyone to pay, offer to pay or accept payment for registering to vote. Charges of voter fraud can be made to the local U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Answers to other questions about registering to vote and the voting process are available through the Illinois State Board of Elections at www.elections.il.gov.

Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page

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