The single most important thing you can do to support the right to choose abortion is to vote for pro-choice candidates. Your next two opportunities for doing so are the Illinois primary election on March 19, 2024, and the general election on November 5, 2024. We will publish our pro-choice voters guide, identifying which candidates are pro-choice and which are not, in the months prior to each election.
Registering to vote:
Visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website to check whether you’re registered, and register to vote or update your registration if you’ve moved. You can also register to vote:
- At any Illinois Secretary of State facility when you obtain or renew your drivers license
- At the office of the McHenry County Clerk at 667 Ware Road in Woodstock, 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday
- By mail — here’s the form to print out, fill out and mail in
Beginning on the 27th day prior to an election, you can register in person at any of the early voting locations, and finally, on Election Day, you can even register in person at the polling place for the precinct in which you live. Bring your drivers’ license, other state ID, or other document such as your utility bill or bank statement showing your current address.
Get more information at the McHenry County Clerk’s website.
Voting by mail:
Prior to each election, the McHenry County Clerk will publish a form to request a mail-in ballot for that particular election. Or you can submit an application for “permanent vote by mail” status. Either way, you’ll receive your ballot in the mail. You fill it out, seal it in the enclosed envelope, and either (a) add a first-class stamp and drop it in a mailbox, or (b) deposit it in one of the county clerk’s “drop boxes”, which you’ll find at some of the early voting locations or at the county building at 667 Ware Road in Woodstock.
If you’ve received a mail-in ballot and then decide you’d rather vote in person, either at one of the early voting locations or at your polling place on election day, it’s no problem. Just bring your mail-in ballot with you when you go the polls and surrender it to the election judge when you check in. (If you lost or never received your mail-in ballot, you’ll need to do an affidavit at the polling place stating that.)
If dropped in the mailbox, your mail-in ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day. If you’re mailing it on Election Day, make sure it’s before the time when that particular mailbox is picked up. (If it’s less than a week before the election, however, we recommend depositing the ballot in its sealed envelope in one of the dropboxes, or bringing it with you to the polling place, surrendering it and voting in person. This will ensure that your vote is included in the preliminary vote totals published on the evening of Election Day.)
Early in-person voting:
Prior to each election, the county clerk publishes a one-page document listing all the early voting locations. Here’s the document for the last (April 4, 2023) election.
As you can see, early voting always begins at the county building at 667 Ware Road in Woodstock, which is then followed by the start of “early satellite” voting at about a dozen convenient locations around the county. Last election, early voting at the county building began on February 23, 2023, and early satellite voting began on March 20. The document also lists the places where ballot dropboxes are located. Note that some dropboxes are inside the location and only accessible during voting hours, and others are outside and available 24/7.
In-person voting on Election Day:
In-person voting on Election Day can only be done at the polling place for your particular precinct. Prior to each election, the county clerk publishes a list of polling places by precinct. For example, here’s the list of polling places for the last election. It’s very common, however, for polling places to be changed each time, so be sure to check, either online or on the voter ID card you’ll receive in the mail.
Finding your precinct, your polling place, and your sample ballot:
Here’s the link to the “Sample Ballot Locator” on the county clerk’s website. Type in your address number and street name, click the Search button, and your precinct will be displayed. In the period before each election, it will also tell you your polling place, and provide a link to your sample ballot.
If you haven’t received a mail-in ballot, it’s always a good idea to print out your sample ballot, so you can see exactly who’s running for what office and what referenda might be on your ballot. This is especially useful for the elections for judges and for the municipal (local) elections, where there may be a lot of candidates on the ballot and it can be hard to tell beforehand exactly which races are applicable to you.