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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



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Voting Booth, 300x300Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about voting rights. Just click on a question below to reveal the answer associated with it.

If you have any questions or encounter any problems, contact Equip for Equality at 800-573-2632 or

If you live in a nursing home and you request an absentee ballot, in-person absentee voting may be conducted at the nursing home under the supervision of at least two election judges of separate political parties. The polling may be held on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday before Election Day.

A registered voter who is hospitalized not more than 14 days before an election may request that an absentee ballot be delivered in person to him or her in the hospital. An affidavit must be completed by the voter, his or her attending physician, and a relative (or registered voter of the same precinct) who delivers the absentee ballot to the hospital.

Voting systems must be accessible for people with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired. They must provide the same opportunity for access and participation as for other voters – including privacy and independence.


Every polling place should have at least one direct responding electronic (DRE) voting system equipped for people with disabilities.  This is usually a touch-screen voting machine capable of operating in audio mode for people with visual disabilities. Anyone may use the DRE system.  At least one election judge in the polling place should know how to operate it.

As a voter, you have a right to ask anyone you want to assist you at the polls, except for your employer or an officer of a union of which you are a member. (You may bring a friend, family member, teacher, personal attendant, neighbor, etc.) The person who assists you is not allowed to try to influence you to vote a certain way.
You may also ask the election judges for help.

  • Two judges must assist you in the voting booth ¬– one Democrat and one Republican.
  • You sign a paper that states you have requested assistance, states your disability and whether it is temporary or permanent.
  • You can be given instructions on how to vote with a sample ballot without signing the assistance paper.

If you can’t enter your polling place, you may request that a ballot be brought to you at the nearest accessible point outside of the polling place (but not more than 50 feet from the entrance).   Election judges bring the ballot out to the voter, who casts a vote at that time.  This is known as curbside voting.  This request must be made before the close of business on the day before the election.  You can find your local election authority here:

Most Illinois polling places are accessible to voters with physical disabilities.  Polling places that are not accessible are identified that way.  If your polling place is inaccessible, you have a few options.  If you are assigned to an inaccessible polling place, you can request, in advance, to be assigned to an accessible polling place elsewhere, or you may ask to be provided with a different way to cast a ballot on the day of the election.  You can find your local election authority here:

You may also cast your ballot during the early voting period.  All early voting sites are accessible.  You may also cast your ballot by mail by requesting an absentee ballot.

You can vote three ways:

  • At the polling place on Election Day. You can look up your polling place online here or contact your election authority.
  • By going to an early voting site before Election Day during the early voting period, which runs from the 15th day before the election through the third day before the election. The local election authority decides where the early voting locations are. Contact your local election authority to find an early voting location.
    • Note: Voters casting an early ballot must display valid identification such as a current driver’s license, a state-issued ID card or another government-issued ID with a photograph.
  • By mail through absentee ballot.
    • You may request an absentee ballot by mail or in person. By July 1, 2014, voters will be able to request absentee ballots online.
    • o If you registered to vote by mail, you must provide additional proof of identification to the election authority before you may vote by mail.
    • Note: Requesting an absentee ballot is the first step to casting your vote by mail. You will receive a ballot from the election authority. You must fill that out and return it in order to cast your vote.


As soon as you receive a voter ID card in the mail, you can consider yourself registered. If you do not receive an ID card within three weeks of registering, contact your election authority.

You can see if you are registered to vote by checking online at

You need to provide at least two pieces of identification. At least one must have your current address on it. Identification can include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Illinois state ID
  • Public assistance ID card
  • Social Security card
  • Library card
  • Employee or student ID card
  • Civic, union or professional association membership card
  • Recent utility bill
  • Credit card
  • Birth certificate

Note: To register online, you will need either an Illinois driver’s license or state ID number.

Grace period registration gives voters more time to register or update their registration information. This grace period allows you to register until three days before the election. Once registered, you may cast a ballot during this grace period at the election authority’s office or at a place designated by the election authority, or by mail, at the discretion of the election authority.

Registration is open all year except during the 27-day period before an election and during the two-day period after an election (one day after in Chicago).

You can also register up to two weeks before the election under a process called “grace period registration and voting.”  However, if you register this way, you must register and vote at that time, and not at your polling place on Election Day or through early voting.

Yes. A new law requires the Illinois State Board of Elections to allow online voter registration starting July 1, 2014.

The state Board of Elections has set up a website to start to implement this change here:

Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully, and be sure to verify your registration if you are using the system before the official launch date.

You can register to vote in person or by mail at the following locations:

  • Equip for Equality offices
  • Your local election authority
  • County clerk’s office
  • Board of Elections office
  • City and village offices
  • Township offices
  • Precinct committeemen
  • Military recruitment offices
  • Some corporation offices
  • Some labor groups’ offices
  • Some civic groups’ locations
  • Some public libraries
  • Some employers and schools; check with your employer or school to see if it sponsors a voter registration drive or suggest that it does.

You may register in person when applying for services at the following:

  • Driver’s license facilities
  • Department of Healthcare and Family Services offices
  • Department of Public Health offices
  • Division of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities offices
  • Division of Rehabilitation Services offices

How to register by mail:

  • The Illinois State Board of Elections website has forms to download, print and mail in:
  • Voter registration application (Link loads a pdf)
  • You must print and return the application to your election authority. To find your election authority’s mailing address, go to: 
  • If you register by mail, you must vote in person the first time and show identification, unless you provide the proper election authority with sufficient proof of identity that has been verified by the election authority. In that case, you may vote by absentee ballot.


Yes, in most cases.  A general finding of incompetency and guardianship does not take away the right to vote. An order must state that you are not competent to vote. If it does not, you can vote.  As long as you have not been found incompetent to vote by a probate judge, you can vote.

Before voting, you must be registered to vote. There are three requirements to be able to register to vote.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years old by Election Day to vote in the general election.
    • New Illinois law allows people who will be 18 by the general election to vote in the primary election.
  • You must not be convicted of a crime and in prison.
  • You must have lived in the precinct for at least 30 days before the election.
    • For election purposes, towns and cities are divided into smaller areas called “precincts” that are given numbers. Your precinct is determined by where you live. You can find your precinct by contacting your local voting authority, for example, the Chicago Board of Elections.
    • You must update your registration if you move.



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If you have a question about voting rights or would like to schedule a voter registration or training, please contact:

Bebe Novich 

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Last updated: July 27, 2020

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