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Voting and Election FAQ

You've got questions and we're here to help you. Take a look at the following frequently asked questions and if you still need assistance, just send us an email and we'll do our best to help. This page will be updated frequently to accommodate the needs and concerns of our student voters. Contact us with any questions you still have after reviewing this page.


  • How do I register to vote?

Registering to vote is simple! Find information on how to register online or in person.

  • How do I know if I'm registered?

Check your voter registration status online.

  • How do I know if I need to update my voter registration?
You will need to update your voter registration if you have legally changed your name, if you have moved, or (in some states excluding Illinois) if you would like to change your political party affiliation. You can update your voter registration online or by contacting the local County Clerk’s office. If you would like to update your registration at a polling place in person, be sure to bring along two forms of updated ID.
  • Do I register to vote in Bloomington-Normal, or do I vote in my hometown?

That is up to you. You can vote at your home or permanent address, but you can also reregister at your address here at ISU. If you are planning to vote at home you either have to drive home on Election Day or send your ballot by mail. Some students might find it easier to reregister at your campus address and take advantage of early voting or Election Day voting at the Bone Student Center or Watterson. If you vote here on campus, you can have a voice on local issues that will affect your everyday life as a student.

Referendums/Propositions and some offices are specific to the voting location, so you will likely see different items on the ballot depending on where you register. Choose a community that you would like to speak into and let your voice be heard.

  • I'm an out of state student, can I register in Illinois?

Yes, you can use your local address to register to vote. Out-of-state residents in Illinois have to register via mail. First, print this voter registration form. Then, u sing a blue or black pen, fill out the form with your name, address where you live, your former address, and other identifiers. Since the form asks for an IL Driver’s License or Social Security number, use your Social Security number. It also requires a signature. There are step-by-step instructions included in the form.

The PDF includes a sheet that has the address you must send the form to. Either use this paper with your return address and a stamp as the envelope or use a regular envelope and copy the address from the PDF. If you need a stamp, the Center for Civic Engagement can provide you with one. Then, drop your form in a mailbox.If approved, you will get a Voter Registration Card in the mail.

  • Can I be registered to vote in more than one location?

No, you can only be registered to vote in one location. You are welcome to register with your home address or your school address. When deciding where to vote, consider where you most want your voice to be heard.

  • I'm 17, can I vote in the primaries?

If you are currently 17 years old and will turn 18 by the General Election, then you can vote! Register here!

  • I have a disability, can I still vote?

Polling locations are required to provide accommodations by the American Disabilities Act and the Voting Rights Act. Both the Bone Student Center and Watterson's Rosa Parks room is ADA accessible.

  • I'm not going to be in town on election day. What should I do?
There are a couple of options. You can participate in early voting. If you would prefer, you can also vote by mail and avoid the lines in their entirety.

Voter Education

  • Do I vote in Bloomington-Normal, or do I vote in my hometown?

That is up to you. Referendums/Propositions are specific to the voting location, so you will likely see different items on the ballot depending on where you register. Choose a community that you would like to speak into and let your voice be heard.

General Voting

  • What does a ballot even look like?

Sample ballots are available online approximately 40 days before the election.

  • I'm an out of state student registered to vote in my home state. Do I need to become an Illinois resident to vote here or should I vote a mail-in ballot?

You can choose to stay registered to vote in your home state and request a mail-in ballot online. Just remember that each state has deadlines for when you need to request an absentee ballot by. Additionally, you need to make sure your ballot is postmarked by election day to be counted.

If you choose to register in IL, you could do so in advance online by using your Social Security Number on the voter registration system. In some cases, you may need to mail in a printed registration form. On election day if you choose to register to vote in IL, you would need two forms of ID and one must have your current address. This could be a bill sent to your apartment or a screenshot of your ISU portal that displays your on-campus address.

  • What do I do if I experience resistance at the polls?

You are entitled to a provisional ballot. Complete the provisional ballot, and ask what you must do in order to ensure that your vote has been counted. If you are voting in McLean County, you can check the status of your provisional ballot online.

If you encounter additional problems while voting, call (866) 687-8683 in order to speak to the Election Protection Hotline.

Vote By Mail

  • What is an absentee ballot? Am I eligible?

An absentee ballot, also known as a mail-in ballot, is an alternative approach to voting that does not require a voter to go to a designated polling place to cast their vote. Anyone can apply for an absentee (or mail-in) ballot. This approach is useful for those who are busy on Election Day, for those who want to avoid the lines or crowds on Election Day, and for those who may need additional time as they fill out their ballot.

  • How do I vote if I'm studying abroad?

In order to participate in the November 8 general election from overseas, you will need to register and request a vote by mail ballot no later than October 9th. To register to vote and/or request a ballot, you will need to set up a MOVE account (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment). This account will allow you to connect with your local election authority and track the status of your ballot. You will be able to select how you wish to receive your ballot (mail, email, or fax). However, to be counted, completed ballots must be mailed (via snail mail) to your local election authority and postmarked by November 8. Mailed ballots from overseas must be received by the local election authority no later than November 22 to be counted. Be prepared to pay for postage.

  • How do I vote by mail?

When you register online to vote, you can request a mail-in ballot. You can also request a mail-in ballot from the County Clerk’s office. You will receive the ballot by mail, and, after filling it out, you must return the ballot. You can return the ballot in-person to a polling place or by mail using a stamp. If you live on campus, the front desk of every residence hall is able to accept and deliver outgoing mail. The Center for Civic Engagement can also provide a stamp.


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