Voting by mail is also referred to as absentee voting. Absentee voting is a way for citizens to vote early through the mail because they cannot be present when the election occurs. Illinois law allows a voter registered in Illinois to request and vote with an absentee ballot without giving a reason for not be able to vote at the polling place on Election Day.
In certain situations, a voter that is not registered in the state, such as active duty military and their families, federal employees and those living outside of the U.S. may be permitted to vote absentee while overseas or out of their precinct.
How do I get a mail ballot?
You may apply for a mail ballot either by mail or in person. You must obtain an application from your election authority.
- If applying by mail, you have any where from 40 to 5 days before the election to apply for an absentee ballot.
- If applying in person, you have any where from 40 days to 1 day before the election to apply for an absentee ballot.
Some voters, particularly those who are temporarily out of the country must apply for a mail ballot not less than 10 days before the election. If you plan to be out of the country on Election Day, you should contact your election authority early to get details about what you must do to obtain a mail ballot.
How do I vote with a mail ballot?
If you are applying for a mail ballot in person, you may immediately use your ballot to vote at the election authority's office.
If you mailed the application, the election authority will mail a ballot to you. Vote in secret using the ballot and insert the ballot in the envelope provided. Sign the certification on the back, seal the envelope, and personally return it or mail it as instructed. You may also authorize, in writing, a spouse, parent, child, sibling or licensed motor carrier to deliver the ballot to the election authority.
To be counted, mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than midnight on the night prior to the election, and must be received within 14 days of the election.