Langdon D. Neal, Chairman
Richard A. Cowen, Secretary/Commissioner
Marisel A. Hernandez, Commissioner
Lance Gough, Executive Director
Kelly Bateman, Asst. Executive Director
What is Absentee Voting?
Any registered voter in Illinois may cast an absentee ballot by mail. Voters do not need a reason or excuse to vote absentee by mail.
February 6, 2014 is the first day that civilian voters in the United States may apply to cast an absentee ballot in March 18, 2014 Primary Election. Additionally, the Chicago Election Board plans to offer an online application system at this section of the web site, starting in early February 2014.
How to Vote Absentee / How to Vote by Mail
Step 1: Apply
The absentee application will be made available at this site by late January 2014. The voter may complete and mail the absentee ballot application and return the completed application to the Election Board at 69 W. Washington St., Suite 600, Chicago IL 60602 by March 13, 2014.
Voters also may call 312-269-7967 to ask to have absentee ballot applications mailed to them.
Additionally, an online application system will be available at this web site starting in early February.
NOTE: Chicago voters should submit their applications for absentee ballots directly to the Board of Election Commissioners, 69 W. Washington St., Ste. 600, P.O. Box 1179, Chicago IL 60690-1179 - and not to any other address.
The Election Board strongly recommends that voters submit their applications for absentee ballots by late February or early March, well ahead of the deadline.
The completed application for absentee ballot must include the voter's name, signature and registration address, as well as the address where the absentee ballot should be mailed.
Upon receipt of the completed original application, the Election Board will mail an absentee ballot to the voter, or as soon as ballots are available from the printer.
Absentee voters whose applications do not arrive by the March 13 deadline must vote absentee in person at the Election Board on March 16 or March 17 or vote at their precinct polling places on Election Day, Tuesday, March 18.
Step 2: Vote and Return Your Ballot
Vote the absentee ballot and return it to the Election Board for processing.
Follow all enclosed instructions and make sure to vote in secret. A voted absentee ballot must be postmarked (or in the absence of a postmark, certified by the voter) on or before March 17 (at least one day before Election Day) in order to be counted. In addition, the Board must receive the ballot by April 1, 2014 for the ballot to be counted.
The ballot may be returned personally, by an immediate relative, by U.S. Mail or by a state licensed motor carrier (such as FedEx, UPS or DHL).
Once an absentee ballot has been returned to the Board, it cannot be retrieved or withdrawn. An absentee voter cannot vote in person in the polling place on Election Day unless he or she brings the absentee ballot (or a portion of it) to the election judges or completes an affidavit stating the absentee ballot was never received by the voter.
Absentee Voting in Person at the Election Board
Any qualified voter may cast an absentee ballot in person in the offices of the Board of Election Commissioners the Sunday or Monday before the election.
In-Person Absentee Voting will be offered at 69 W. Washington St. on the Lower Level:
- Sun., March 16 - 9 a.m. to noon
- Mon., March 17 - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Military/Civilian Overseas Voters
Click here for more information on voting for members of the armed services and civilians living overseas.
Absentee Voting: For Physical Disability
Certain voters may also qualify for special additional absentee voting privileges as explained below.
Five-Year DVI Card
A voter with a permanent physical disability or a qualified nursing home resident may request a Disabled Voter's Identification Card (DVI), which is valid for all elections during a five-year period. The voter is automatically sent an absentee ballot application by the Board prior to each election. The voter must complete the DVI application and return it to the Board in order to receive an absentee ballot.
Residents of Licensed Nursing Homes
Voters residing in licensed nursing homes vote on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday preceding an election. Residents who are registered voters and who submit an absentee ballot application by the Thursday before the election are allowed to vote during the scheduled nursing home balloting. For complete information on nursing home voting procedures, contact the Board at 1-312-269-7865.
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 the relative (or registered voter of the same precinct) who delivers the absentee ballot to the hospital. Contact the Absentee Department at 1-312-269-7967 for complete details on these procedures.
Absentee Voting Abuse
It is a felony in Illinois to vote more than once in the same election or to attempt to vote more than once in the same election.
Falsifying Eligibility for Absentee Ballots, Intimidation/Interference
Persons who knowingly make a false statement concerning their eligibility to vote absentee may be criminally prosecuted under Illinois law (10ILCS 5/29-10). Any person who intimidates or unduly influences another person to cast an absentee ballot in a manner inconsistent with the voter's intent or who marks or tampers with an absentee ballot of another person shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. Note: A physically incapacitated voter is entitled to assistance if that voter requests the assistance. Voters are forbidden by law from using multiple voting systems (Early Voting and Absentee Voting, for example) to change or undo a ballot for any reason.