Countywide Early Voting Began October 24th; Make Sure Your Vote Counts!

Election Day is approaching very quickly. With so much at stake—reproductive freedom, protection from gun violence, our very democracy—we all need a plan to vote.

First item on your to-do list? Make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address. If you’re not, know that you can register in person at your County Clerk’s office or on the day you vote, either at an Early Voting site or on Election Day at your regular polling place. Just make sure you bring with you two pieces of identification. And one of those must show your current address.

If you’re already registered, make your plan to vote. You can vote right now at limited locations in your county of residence on any weekday between 9am and 5pm. You can request and return a vote-by-mail ballot. Or you can plan to vote in person at any of several Early Voting locations across your county starting October 24th, or on Election Day, November 8th, at your assigned neighborhood polling place.

Here are the details:

How do I request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Go online to your County Clerk’s website. Through the Lake County Clerk’s website and the Cook County Clerk’s website [], you can request your vote-by-mail ballot by simply following the prompts. It will take less than five minutes.

If you live in McHenry County, you will find the form you need online at But after you fill out the form, you’ll have to print it out and sign it before you can submit it to request your ballot. Although you are permitted to request a mail-in ballot as late as November 3rd, given the unpredictability of the U.S. Mail, we strongly recommend that you do so well before that date.

When will I receive my vote-by-mail ballot?

Ballots will be mailed as requests are received.

How do I send in my completed vote-by-mail ballot?

You can return your vote-by-mail ballot by U.S. Mail or take it to your County Clerk’s office in person.  You can also deposit your completed vote-by-mail ballot in a secure drop box. Starting on October 24, every Early Voting site in Lake and Cook Counties, and many in McHenry County, will have a drop box that you can access without waiting in the line for in-person voting. Lake County already has made available 24-hour secure drop boxes at six locations in the county.

To find drop box locations and hours in Cook County, go to

To find drop box locations and hours in Lake County, go to

To find drop box locations and hours in McHenry County, go to

Cook and Lake Counties have provided postage-prepaid envelopes for returning mail-in ballots. McHenry County requires a regular first-class stamp, but if you forget to put a stamp on the envelope, the post office will deliver it anyway, and the County Clerk is legally required to accept it.

What’s the deadline for sending in my vote-by-mail ballot?

Ballots must be returned to your County Clerk in person or via drop box no later than Election Day, November 8, 2022, by 7 p.m., or via U.S. Mail postmarked no later than 7 p.m. that day. If mailed by 7 p.m. on Election Day, a ballot will be accepted as long as it is received within 14 days after Election Day.

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

Your vote-by-mail ballot should come to you with clear, illustrated instructions. Color in the ovals the same way you do when you vote in person and then insert the completed ballot in the envelope provided. The single most important step? Make sure you sign the Certification Envelope in which you place your completed ballot the same way you sign your name when you go to vote in person. You should also be sure to write in the date you are returning your ballot in the space provided on that envelope.

What if I get a mail-in ballot but change my mind and want to vote in person?

If you decide to vote in person, bring your vote-by-mail ballot and the certification envelope that came with it to the polling place, hand them to an Election Judge when you check in, and say you want to vote in person. The Election Judge will take your mail-in ballot and give you a regular ballot to vote right then. If you misplaced your vote-by-mail ballot, tell that to the Election Judge, and they still will be able to give you a ballot to vote that day.

What if I still have questions?

If you find that the instructions for completing and returning your mail-in ballot are unclear, or have any other questions about voting, call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline at 847-432-VOTE (8683).


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