On November 4, Illinois residents will cast their votes for many important local, statewide and federal executive and legislative offices.

For answers to some important general election questions, check out the BGA’s voters’ guide below.

The BGA is a non-partisan and non-profit government watchdog organization that seeks to hold public officials accountable through investigative reporting, and does not endorse political candidates. For more on where the three gubernatorial candidates stand on the major reform issues facing Illinois, check out the 2014 BGA/Reboot Illinois Governor Candidate Questionnaire.

What positions are up for election this fall?

At the November 4, 2014 General Election, Illinois voters will vote to ELECT candidates for:

  • United States Senator
  • Governor/Lieutenant Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of State
  • Comptroller
  • Treasurer
  • Representatives in Congress
    • All 18 Districts
  • Senators in the General Assembly
    • Districts 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57
  • Representatives in the General Assembly
    • All 118 Districts
  • Regional Superintendant of Schools
  • Vacancies in the 1st, 2nd and 4th Appellate Courts
  • Vacancies in Cook Circuit and Subcircuit Courts
  • Vacancies in Downstate Circuit and Subcircuit Courts
  • 5th Supreme Court Judge Retention
  • Appellate Judge Retention in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Appellate Courts
  • Judge Circuit and Subcircuit Retention

Unofficial Candidate List Available Here

Search Candidates by Office

Voters will also be asked to vote YES or NO on the following referenda:

Proposed Amendments to the 1970 Illinois Constitution – Statewide Binding Referenda

  • For the proposed amendment of Section 8.1 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution

Explanation of Amendment (as it will appear on the ballot):

“The proposed amendment makes changes to Section 8.1 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution, the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. The proposed amendment would expand certain rights already granted to crime victims in Illinois, and give crime victims the ability to enforce their rights in a court of law. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.”

  • For the proposed addition of Section 8 to Article III of the Illinois Constitution

Explanation of Amendment (as it will appear on the ballot):

“The proposed amendment adds a new section to the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would prohibit any law that disproportionately affects the rights of eligible Illinois citizens to register to vote or cast a ballot based on the voter’s race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.”

Statewide Advisory Questions:

  • “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?”
  • “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?”
  • “Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?”

Am I registered to vote?
You can check your registration status by entering your name and zip code at the Registration Lookup website. If you’re registered, it will also give you your polling place location.

You can also contact your local jurisdiction (usually your county, or the City of Chicago for Chicago residents) to confirm this information.

Click here to find your local election authority, its website and its contact information.

When can I register to vote?
Although the traditional voter registration period ended on October 7, 2014, Illinois residents may register in person at the office of their election authority during “Grace Period Registration and Voting.”

From October 8 through Election Day, November 4, voters may register, update their addresses or file name changes during this “Grace Period.”

A Grace Period voter must present two forms of identification, at least one of which shows the current address. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Driver’s license
  • State identification card
  • Passport
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck stub, or other government document that shows your name and address.

*You must immediately vote upon registering during Grace Period Registration.

Where can I register to vote in person?

Traditional Registration

There are a number of locations at which you can register to vote during the normal registration period, including:

  • County Clerk’s Office
  • Board of election commissioner’s Office
  • City and Village Offices
  • Township Offices
  • Precinct committeemen
  • Schools
  • Public Libraries
  • Military Recruitment Offices

The following organizations may be entitled to register people to vote:

  • Some Labor Groups
  • Some Civic Groups
  • Some Corporations

You may also register to vote when applying for service at the following locations:

  • Driver’s License Facilities
  • Department of Healthcare & Family Services
  • Department of Employment Security
Grace Period Registration

Grace period voters must register at the office of their election authority or at a voter registration location designated for that purpose. Check with your local election authority for grace period registration locations.

Grace period registration sites in suburban Cook County: http://cookcountyclerk.com/ELECTIONS/REGISTERTOVOTE/Pages/GracePeriod.aspx

Same-day registration sites in suburban Cook County: http://cookcountyclerk.com/elections/registertovote/Pages/ElectionDayRegistration.aspx

Grace period and same-day registration sites in the City of Chicago: http://www.chicagoelections.com/en/grace-period-registration-and-voting.html

Where is my polling place?
You can check your polling place location at the Registration Lookup website. If you can’t find it there, each county’s polling places can also be found on its election authority’s website.

If you’ve moved since the last election, make sure you check to see where your new polling place is located – your vote won’t count if you vote in the wrong precinct.

What time are the polls open in Illinois?
On November 4, polls will be open from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Can I vote early?
Yes. Early voting for the November 4 General Election will be offered from Monday, October 20, 2014 through Sunday, November 2, 2014.

For the 2014 General Election only, early voters do not need to present valid, government-issue photo identification.

Find early voting locations and hours for your county here: http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx

Do I need an ID to vote?
It depends. You will need to present a government-issued photo ID if:

  • You are a new voter who has registered by mail and have not previously supplied the Election Board with appropriate ID.
  • When a majority of judges at a polling place challenge the voter, based on a mismatch of the signature or other discrepancy in the voter registration, or if the voter does not appear on the voter rolls.

Telephone help lines:
For more information you can call the Illinois State Board of Elections at their Springfield or Chicago offices.

Springfield Office: 217.782.4141
Chicago Office: 312.814.6440

RELATED STORY:New Illinois Laws Tackle Voting Barriers

Statewide pilot program, extended registration period make it easier to cast ballots.

Useful resources:

Illinois State Board of Elections website

ISBE, “Registering to Vote in Illinois”

ISBE, “Grace Period Registration”

ISBE, “Early Voting in Illinois”

ISBE, “Illinois Voter Information”

Suburban Cook County Elections website

City of Chicago Board of Elections website