Voter registration deadline is Feb. 17

January 26, 2004
Press Release

Cook County Clerk David Orr reminds Illinois residents who want to vote in the March 16 presidential primary election to register before the February 17 deadline.

“Registering to vote gives you the power to make a difference in deciding who will be elected to office and who will represent your interests,” Orr said.

Registration applications are available at the Clerk’s office in English, Spanish and Chinese. To receive a voter registration application, individuals living in suburban Cook County can:

  • Print an application form by visiting
  • Call the Clerk’s office at (312) 603-0906 and request that the office send an application in the mail.
  • Visit their local village or township hall, the Clerk’s downtown Chicago office (69 W. Washington St., Suite 500), or one of the Clerk’s satellite offices located in suburban courthouses.

After completing the application, prospective voters should return it to the Cook County Clerk’s office at 69 W. Washington St, Room 500, Chicago, IL 60602. All applications must be delivered or postmarked by February 17.

To qualify to vote, an individual must be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day (March 16); and a resident of the same voting precinct at least 30 days prior to the election.

During the primary election, some Illinois voters will have to show identification at the polls. According to the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), election officials must verify the identity of first-time voters who have registered by mail after January 1, 2003. New voters can satisfy the requirement one of three ways:

  • Provide an Illinois driver’s license number on their registration application form.
  • Submit a copy of identification (see below) to the Clerk’s office with their application, or sometime before Election Day.
  • Show identification at the polling place on Election Day.

Acceptable forms of identification with your name and current address include: a copy of a current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and current address.

HAVA also requires that applicants confirm they are U.S. citizens by checking a box on the registration application.

In addition, anyone who signs up to vote by mailing a registration form must vote in person the first time they vote. State law prohibits first-time voters who register by mail from casting a mail-in absentee ballot. However, you may be eligible to cast an in-person absentee ballot before Election Day. Visit or call (312) 603-0906 for more details.

Orr reminds voters who have recently moved to re-register at their current address. Voters who have changed their name must also re-register.

The Clerk’s office will send a voter identification card to each voter after the applications are processed. The card lists each voter’s precinct information and voting districts.

For more election information, suburban Cook County residents can contact the Cook County Clerk’s office by visiting or calling (312) 603-0906. Chicago residents should contact the Chicago Board of Elections by visiting or calling (312) 269-7900.