County Clerk:

County Clerk's Office
Elections Division

Frequently Asked Questions:

Registration Questions

How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote in-person or by mail. Click here to read details.
Can I register at a public assistance office?
Yes. Any person who requests public assistance will be given an opportunity to register to vote. If you are already registered, there will be no need to register again unless you change your name or move.
Can I register to vote by mailing an application to my election office?
Yes. Under Federal law, citizens may apply to register to vote by mailing in an application. The applications are available at some public and private facilities where you live. When you register by mail your mail-in form must be postmarked prior to the close of registration. Click here to learn more about registering by mail.
Do I ever have to re-register?
No, not unless you:
  • Move to a different address
  • Change your name
How will I know that I am registered?
Each newly registered voter will receive a voter identification card in the mail within a few weeks of registering. It is not necessary to bring the card with you on Election Day.
When can I consider myself officially registered to vote?
As soon as you receive a voter ID card in the mail, you can consider yourself registered. If you do not receive an ID card within three (3) weeks after you have registered, call your County Clerk's Office.
What are the voter registration requirements?
You must be:
  • a U.S. Citizen;
  • at least 18 years of age by the next General Election day;
  • must have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to election day.
Do I need identification when I register to vote?
Two forms of identification with one showing your current residence address. If you register by mail, you must vote in person the first time you vote. Click here to see a list of acceptable forms of identification.
What if I'm not listed as being registered to vote at the vote center?
The Election Judge must call the County Clerk's Office to verify whether you are eligible to vote and to get further instructions. These instructions will depend on the circumstances of why you are not listed.
When can I register to vote?
Registration is open year round except:
  • During the 27-day period just prior to an election;
  • During the 2 days after such election.
Is there a deadline to register?
You must register to vote no later than 28 days before an election.
  • Exception:
  • Grace Period Registration
    • New legislation provides for in-person voter registration, or execution of a change of address for an already registered voter, during the period of the 27th to the 3rd day before an election. normally, voter registration closes 28 days prior to election day. However, this new legislation provides a "grace period" whereby a person may register at the office of the election authority only during the 25 day period following the normal close of registration. Anyone registering during this period will be required to vote in person at the time of registering. All "grace period" ballots will then be counted in the office of the election authority and not transmitted or counted in the vote center. Grace period voters cannot cancel their ballot and vote in the vote center on election day.
     
Where can I register to vote?
You can register to vote at:
  • The County Clerk's Office;
    • 1504 Third Avenue
      Rock Island IL
     
  • Any Township, City or Village Clerk's Office;
  • Any major public library;
    • Rock Island;
    • Moline;
    • East Moline;
    • Silvis
     
  • Your precinct committeeperson
 Click here to view more details regarding voter registration locations.
Will I automatically be registered to vote when I renew my driver's license?
No. But you will be given the opportunity to register to vote. If you are already registered to vote, there is no need to register again unless you change your name or move.
What should I do if I change my name?
If you changed your name and moved outside the precinct before the election and did not re-register, you cannot vote. A person who changed his or her name before the election, and still lives in the same precinct and is otherwise qualified and did not re-register, may vote after completing an affidavit. A woman who continues to use her maiden name after marriage may vote without having to complete an affidavit if registered under her maiden name. Click here for more details.
What if I move, can I still vote?
It depends on when you move.
  • If you moved within 27 days of the election in the same precinct you can vote a full ballot by signing an affidavit.
  • If you moved more than 30 days before the election and did not transfer your registration, you cannot vote (Exception: In even year elections you can vote for federal offices only, after completing an affidavit for "change of address").
  • If you moved within 30 days before the election outside of your precinct, but you still live in the State, and did not transfer your registration, you can vote a full ballot in your old polling place after completing an affidavit.

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Voting Assistance Questions

What options do voters with disabilities have?
The County Clerk's Office is committed to enhancing access to the polls to make it easier for disabled voters to cast ballots independently. Several assistance programs and services are available, including absentee voting, wheelchair-accessible voting equipment and voting aids. For more information, call (309) 786-VOTE, (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571.
What is Voter Assistance?
"Assistance" is the actual casting of a vote" for a voter by a specified person in the privacy of the voting booth on Election Day. Those giving assistance must vote as directed by the voter.
Who may be Given Assistance?
Only those voters who genuinely need assistance may be given assistance. Illinois law provides that the following persons may receive assistance:
  • Physically disabled or blind voters;
  • Those voters who cannot read or write the English language.
 
Of course, all voters needing assistance must be registered to vote. Intoxicated voters do not qualify as being disabled and may not be given assistance.
Who Can Actually Give the Assistance?
Any voter who needs assistance in voting by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice. However, the person giving the assistance cannot be an officer or agent of the voter's employer or union.

If the voter who needs assistance does not specify a particular person to assist him/her in voting, then the voter can be assisted by two (2) election judges, one from each political party.
How is the Assistance Given?
Assistance is always given in the privacy of the voting booth. Anyone giving assistance must cast the vote as directed by the voter and must not give anyone information as to how the vote was cast. The person giving assistance must not attempt to influence the voter in any way. Anyone who knowingly threatens, forces, or pays a voter to vote a certain way is guilty of a Class Four (4) felony.
Is an Affidavit Required?
Yes. Assistance can only be given upon the voter's request and only after the voter completes the appropriate affidavit. In every instance of assistance, both the voter receiving the assistance and the person(s) giving the assistance must sign the affidavit.

If disabled, the voter receiving the assistance and the person(s) giving the assistance must sign the affidavit.

If disabled, the voter must complete the affidavit stating if the specific physical disability is temporary or permanent. Also, the voter's "Application for Ballot" must be marked by an Election Judge to show that the voter requested assistance.
What if a Voter Needs Instruction?
"Instruction" is explaining to the voter how to use the voting equipment. "Assistance," however, is actually casting a vote for a voter as directed by the voter.

Any instruction that might be required should be given before the voter enters the booth. A specimen ballot, not the voter's official ballot, must be used during instruction. An affadavit is required for "assistance", but it is not required for "instruction".
What About Inaccessible Polling Places?
Any handicapped or elderly voter who cannot enter a polling place due to the structural features of the building, may request to vote outside (near the entrance) of his/her polling place. Such requests must be made with the election authority (County Clerk or Board of Election Commissioners) by the close of business on the day before the election. The election authority will then notify the appropriate election judges of the names of those persons making such a request.

If notification is received by the election judges the voter completes the entire voting process (weather permitting) outside the polling place as follows:
  • Two (2) judges of opposite party affiliation deliver an application to the voter.
  • The completed application is brought back into the polling place to the verification judges.
  • After the signature and address are checked and it is determined that the individual is qualified to vote, the ballot and a portable voting booth or enclosure is provided to allow the voter to mark his ballot in complete secrecy. In no case can a ballot be delivered to a voter beyond 50 feet of the entrance to the building in which the polling place is located
  • After the voter completes voting, the two (2) election judges take the ballot (keeping it inside its envelope) back into the polling place for deposit into the ballot box.
 

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Voting Questions

Can I receive help in voting my ballot?
If you have difficulty voting your ballot, you may request assistance from a friend, family member or Election Judges in your vote center. Both the voter and the individual(s) providing assistance must sign a legal affidavit. Contact the County Clerk's Office at (309) 786-VOTE or (309) 786-8683 for details.
How do I vote?
Voting instructions are posted in each voting booth on election day. Also, an Election Judge will offer you a demonstration.
May I vote for a write-in candidate?
Write-in votes will count only for candidates who have filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate as required.  The last day to file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate is 61 days prior to the election.
My next door neighbor's ballot is different than mine, why?
Your ballot may differ from your neighbors because precinct boundaries and units of government may not necessarily coincide. Ballot styles are specific to those candidates and issues for which you are entitled to vote.
What if I can't make it to my vote center?
Illinois law no longer requires a reason for voting absentee.  Voters who wish to vote absentee must submit an absentee ballot application no later than five (5) days before an election. You may click here PDF Document to download and print an absentee ballot application or you may call (309) 786-VOTE, (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571 to receive an absentee ballot application in the mail or to request curb-side voting.
What if I make a mistake on my ballot?
If you make a mistake while voting your ballot, ask an Election Judge for a new ballot. If voting an absentee ballot, call (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571 to request another ballot be sent.
What is early voting?
This law allows any person to vote early during the 15th through the 3rd day preceding an election. Any voter may cast a ballot during this 13 day period, needs no excuse or reason, but must show a valid government id, unlike the requirements for absentee voting. The law prohibits a person who voted during the early voting period from voting again on election day, and a list of all early voters will be provided to the judges of election prior to the opening of the polls.
What is grace period voting?
Voter Registration closes 28 days prior to election day but with new legislation there is now “Grace Period” Registration/Voting.  This option extends registration from the 27th through the 3rd day before the election.  This “Grace Period” allows a new voter to register to vote, or to update their registration information during this 25 day period at the County Clerk’s Office only and once the voter has registered or updated their registration they must cast their ballot at that time.  “Grace Period” Persons voting early do not get to cancel their ballot and vote at the polls on election day.
What is absentee voting?
Registered voters in Illinois who are unable to vote in-person at the polling place or voting center on Election Day.  Click here PDF Document to download the Application for Absentee ballot.  Does not require a reason or id.
When is a person allowed to vote absentee?
You must submit an application for an absentee ballot (Click here PDF Document to download the Application for an Absentee ballot):
  • By Mail - Not more than 40 days nor less than five(5) days prior to the election; or
  • In Person - Not more than 40 days nor less than 1 day prior to the election

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Miscellaneous Questions

What options do voters with disabilities have?
The County Clerk's Office is committed to enhancing access to the polls to make it easier for disabled voters to cast ballots independently. Several assistance programs and services are available, including absentee voting, wheelchair-accessible voting equipment and voting aids. For more information, call (309) 786-VOTE, (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571.
Can a registered voter sign petitions for candidates of more than one political party for the same primary election?
NO.
May a voter who voted republican in the last primary election now sign a petition for a democratic candidate?
Yes. However, no one may sign petitions for candidates of more than one political party for the same primary election.
What could happen if a voter signs one party's petitions for the primary election but requests another party's ballot at that primary election?
Illinois Statutes (10 ilcs 5/7-43) provide that no person shall be allowed to vote a party ballot in the primary election if the person signed the nominating petition of any candidate of another party or an independent candidate for any office for which such candidate is to be voted for at that primary election. If a voter requests the ballot of another party in the primary election, that voter’s right to vote that party’s ballot could be challenged in the polling place.
Do I have to declare a political party preference?
In Illinois, you do not declare a party when you register to vote. In primary elections, you must declare a specific political party ballot on election day.
Is a lottery conducted for party placement on the ballot?
For the general election, a lottery is conducted by each election authority for all established parties to determine the proper order of party placement on the ballot. This lottery is held within 30 days following the proclamation of the results of the primary election. New parties are involved in a lottery when there is a simultaneous filing with the State Board of Elections or the county Clerk. The State Board of Elections conducts the lottery for new parties which file in the Springfield office and the election authorities must use such order. No party lottery is done for the primary election since each party has its own ballot, separate from any other established party.
How can I help with elections?
Registered voters who are residents of Rock Island County are encouraged to serve as Election Judges. Each judge can receive up to $140 for attending a training session and working at the vote center on election day. To learn more about becoming an election judge, you may click here or you may contact the County Clerk's Office at (309) 786-VOTE, (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571.
May I use a cell phone in the polling place?
Cellular phones should not be brought in and used by a voter in the vote center. A voter using a cellular phone in the vote center may be considered electioneering.
What's on my ballot?
Approximately two weeks before the election, a specimen ballot is printed in the newspaper and will be available online. You can also call the County Clerk's Office at (309) 786-VOTE, (309) 786-8683 or (309) 558-3571 for further information (or to have a specimen ballot sent to you).

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Karen Kinney Click to send e-mail- County Clerk
Rock Island County Office Building (map ExternalLink.gif)
First Floor - 1504 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL, 61201-8624

Elections/Voter Registration: (309) 558-3571     Back Taxes: (309) 558-3572

Vital Records: (309) 558-3569     Fax: (309) 786-7381     Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM - Monday thru Friday