1. Apply to Vote By Mail

The deadline to file an application to Vote By Mail was 5 p.m. Oct. 29. By law, applications no longer can be accepted.
Already applied? Skip to step 2.

   
 

2. Mark Your Ballot 
Follow all instructions that come with your ballot and be sure to vote in secret.
  NOTE: When marking your ballot, use a black or blue ballpoint pen or a felt-tip pen. Do NOT use a red pen, because red ink cannot be read by the ballot scanners.
  NOTE: The Board supplies all Vote By Mail voters with postage-paid Ballot Return Envelopes to return the ballots -- and a list of Election Board drop boxes to return your ballot.

3. Return Your Ballot 
The signed and sealed Ballot Return Envelope may be returned:
  - through the U.S. Postal Service or a licensed courier, OR
  - by personal delivery to the Election Board at 69 W. Washington, Sixth Floor, OR
  - NEW THIS YEAR: Voters may submit their Vote By Mail Ballot Return Envelope directly with the Election Board at any Secured Drop Boxs (learn more here) at any of the more than 50 Early Voting sites in Chicago -- and certain libraries.
Especially in the two weeks before Election Day, Chicago voters are encouraged to use a Secured Drop Box at any Chicago Early Voting site.

Once a mail ballot has been returned to the Board, it cannot be retrieved or withdrawn. The same voter cannot vote in person in the polling place on Election Day unless he or she brings the mail ballot (or a portion of it) to the election judges OR completes an affidavit stating the mail ballot was never received by the voter or that it was received and lost.

Any Vote By Mail Ballot Return Envelope that is mailed, postmarked or certified on or before Election Day may be counted if it arrives within 14 days of Election Day.

Note: Any mail ballot that is postmarked Wed., Nov. 4 or later cannot be counted, by law. If a ballot envelope is placed in a US Postal Service box on or near Election Day, that envelope may be postmarked late and may not be eligible to be counted.

If you change your mind and want to vote in person
Voters may take the Vote By Mail ballot to any early voting site or their Election Day precinct polling place, surrender the ballot, and then vote on a new ballot. Note: Early Voting sites will have drop boxes, but precinct polling places will not.

Problems and solutions
If you: (a) could not apply on time, or (b) do not receive your ballot, or (c) lose your ballot or lose your Ballot Return Envelope, or (d) cannot get your Ballot Return Envelope in the mail by Election Day:

  - Call 312-269-7967 on or before Thurs., Oct. 29 to alert us that you have not received your ballot; OR

  -
Use Early Voting through Tue., Nov. 3; OR

  - Cancel your mail ballot and receive and cast an Election Day ballot at the polling place assigned to your precinct on Tues., Nov. 3. If the voter has the mail ballot, that ballot should be surrendered to the election judges. If the voter does not have the mail ballot, the voter may cast a provisional ballot after completing a provisional-ballot affidavit.

Q: When are the votes from Vote By Mail ballots and Early Voting ballots reported?
A: On Election Night on Nov. 3, the Election Board will report unofficial results that include:
- Votes from all ballots from Vote By Mail that were received and approved on or before the morning of Mon., Nov. 2
- Votes from all Election Day ballots cast in the precincts
- And very late on Election Night, votes from all Early Voting sites.
Then, later-arriving Vote By Mail ballots (those that arrive and are approved the afternoon of Mon., Nov. 2 or later), in addition to provisional ballots, will continue to be processed and added to the counts from Nov. 5 through Nov. 17. Under a long-standing state law, election counts are not final and official until at least 14 days after Election Day to allow for all late-arriving Vote By Mail Ballots and all eligible provisional ballots to be included in the final counts.


Military/Civilian Overseas Voters
Click here for more information on voting for members of the armed services and civilians living overseas. 

Voting By Mail for Physical Disability
Certain voters may also qualify for special additional Vote By Mail 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 a Vote By Mail 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 a mail ballot.

Residents of Licensed Nursing Homes Voters residing in licensed nursing homes will be offered the ability to Vote By Mail preceding the Nov. 3 election. Residents who are registered voters and who submit a Vote By Mail ballot application by the Thursday before the election are allowed to vote. For complete information on nursing home voting procedures, contact the Board at 312-269-7865.

Hospitalized Voters
A registered voter who is hospitalized not more than 14 days before an election may use this form to request that a Vote By Mail 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 Vote By Mail ballot to the hospital. Contact the Vote By Mail Department at 312-269-7967 for complete details on these procedures.   

Abuse of Vote By Mail
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 Vote By Mail Ballots, Intimidation/Interference
Knowingly submitting false statements concerning identity or eligibility to Vote By Mail may be prosecuted under Illinois law (10 ILCS 5/29-10), a Class 3 felony. Any person who intimidates or unduly influences another person to cast a Vote By Mail ballot in a manner inconsistent with the voter's intent or who marks or tampers with a Vote By Mail 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 (any combination of voting on Election Day, Early Voting and/or Vote By Mail) to change or undo a ballot for any reason, or to vote more than once. Attempting to vote more than once is a felony.

Due to COVID-19, voters are encouraged to use Vote By Mail or Early Voting before Election Day on Nov. 3, 2020.