Your Guide to the Midterm Election in Chicago This November

Here’s everything you need to know about voting in the midterms in Chicago.

The 2020 General Election may feel like eons ago, but the Midterm Elections are now on the horizon. And considering the chaos that was 2020, the 2022 elections are going to be pivotal. Election Day is coming in hot on November 8, so now is the time to ensure your voter registration is up to snuff, deadlines are met, you know your polling place, and you’re prepared to vote early or cast a mail-in ballot. And while going to the polls is likely to look a lot more “normal” than the 2020 General Election, there’s a lot at stake that feels anything but—emphasizing the importance of voting and making your voice heard.

It’s a sentiment that rings very true in Chicago, the metropolitan nexus of a state so politically notorious that a list of the state’s most corrupt politicians can barely be contained to a top 10. Voting here—in the state that gave us Rod Blagojevich—has always been vital, and this fall’s elections are no different, with congressional, gubernatorial, and other statewide races all on the docket. Fortunately, Chicago seems to acknowledge the importance of voting, as it’s one of the easier states to cast a ballot in, with ample opportunities and avenues to make your voice heard on or before November 8. Here’s everything you need to know about the Midterm Elections in Chicago.

Registering to vote in Chicago

New voter registration online ends on October 23, and all mail-in registration must be postmarked by October 11. Not registered to vote by Election Day? No problem. Illinois, blessedly, is one of the states that allow you to register to vote on Election Day, doing so when you cast your in-person ballot on November 8. Visit here to check your voter registration status in Illinois.

What’s on the ballot: key races and issues

There is a lot on the ballot in Illinois for the Midterms. Federally, Chicagoans will cast their vote for US Senator (Democratic Tammy Duckworth vs. Republican Kathi Salvi vs. Libertarian Bill Redpath) and US Representatives in the 1st through 9th districts, while Democrat Kwame Raoul, Republican Thomas G. DeVore, and Libertarian Daniel K. Robin are all up for Attorney General.

The local biggie is Governor and Lieutenant Governor, with JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton vying for re-election against Republican duo Darren Bailey and Stephanie Trussell, and Libertarians Scott Schluter and John Phillips. Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer are also on the ballot, as are a slew of State Senators, State Representatives, and local candidates like commissioner, clerk, and sheriff.

Beyond the candidates, the biggest item on the ballot is Amendment 1, or as it’s known in less vague language: the Illinois Right to Collective Bargaining Measure, or the slightly more optimistic Workers’ Rights Amendment. In typically controversial style for Illinois, it’s an amendment that’s also been described as a tax hike in disguise, which would create a state constitutional right for employees to organize and bargain collectively to negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions. Said amendment would simultaneously bar laws that interfere with or negate these collective bargaining agreements. This would also lead to tax increases for Illinois home-owners and small business owners, including a property tax hike of $2,100.

Check out a full list of candidates and amendments here.

Can I vote early?

Yes. Early voting—for anyone registered to vote—in Chicago is open between October 7 and November 7, though dates and hours vary by county elsewhere in the state. In-person early voting requests must be received by November 2. The Chicago Board of Elections Office and the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite will both be open the entire 30 days before the election, and all voting sites in the city will be open for early voting by October 24 (if not sooner). Here’s where to find an early voting location near you.

Can I vote by mail?

Most definitely. Illinois allows all registered voters to do so via absentee ballot without an excuse. However, you’ll need to request a mail-in ballot to do so, with that deadline being November 3. To mail it in and have it count, your ballot must be postmarked by November 8 and received by November 22. In Chicago, you can drop off your mail-in ballot at your local elections office, or at a drop box location throughout the county. Here's where to find drop box locations near you.

How to find your polling place

It’s easy. Just plug in your address and zip code here to find your local polling place.

How to vote absentee in Chicago

If you’re gonna be out of town on Election Day, fear not. Chicagoans can vote absentee by filling out this application and dropping it off or mailing it to your county elections office. Don’t delay, though, because all absentee requests must be received by the election authority by October 29.

How to volunteer as a poll worker

Considering Cook County is facing a critical shortage of election workers, it’s all hands on deck for the Midterms. Election judges and coordinators man the polling stations and keep people voting efficiently. Election judges make up to $230 and election coordinators make up to $450 for Election Day. You can apply to be a poll worker here.

Additional Chicago voting resources

For more information on everything from voter registration and deadlines to polling places, ballot details, and sample ballots, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners and the Illinois State Board of Elections.