The midterm elections are coming up on Tuesday, November 6th. Below are 5 things Illinois voters should know.

#1. You don’t need your ID (but it could be helpful)

You don’t need to show your ID to vote if you’re already registered to vote in Illinois – and in fact it would be illegal to require you to show it! However, you may need an ID if you’re registering to vote for the first time, or if you registered by mail and it is your first time voting. That requires two forms of ID with your name, and one must have your current address.

Examples of valid ID include:

  • Driver’s license

  • Passport

  • Social security card

  • Public aid ID card (Link card)

  • Utility bill

  • Employee or student ID card

  • Credit card

  • Mail sent to you at your address, postmarked in the last 30 days

#2. It’s not too late to register!

Here in Illinois, you can actually register to vote – and then cast your ballot- on Election Day! This is called same-day registration, and it’s available at every polling place in over 20 Illinois counties, including Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, and Will.

In the rest of the state, same-day registration is available in at least one location, usually at the county seat. Just remember – if you plan to register to vote, you’ll need the two forms of ID we listed above.

#3 You don’t have to wait for Election Day

Not everyone will have the time or ability to visit their polling place between 6am and 7pm on Tuesday, November 6. The good news is, you don’t have to wait! You can vote today using one of two methods: early voting or mail-in voting.

Early voting is available at designated sites that are open now through Monday, November 5.

If you want to vote by mail, you need to apply for a mail-in ballot.

The last day to apply by mail is Thursday, November 1, and you must mail in your ballot by Tuesday, November 6, to be counted.

By the way, it’s not a crime if you request an absentee ballot and change your mind. You can still go to the polls instead! Just bring the ballot with you have the election worker mark it void.

#4 Poll workers are not always right!

Sometimes, because of technology glitches, under-training, or simple human error, poll workers (election judges) make mistakes. At our Election Protection call center, we hear from voters who experience all kinds of problems with poll workers. In the past, poll workers have incorrectly asked registered voters for their IDs, wrongly told people in line to leave, or simply couldn’t find the right names on their voter rolls. Poll workers can also provide assistance, for example for voters who need language assistance or disability access, so it is important to insist upon help when needed.

If you have any concerns on Election Day and you need to stand up to a poll worker, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) and volunteer attorneys trained by our organization will immediately get on the phone with you. For assistance in other languages, call:

  • 888-VE-Y-VOTA or 888-839-8682 (Spanish)

  • 888-API-VOTE or 888-274-8683 (Asian and Pacific Islander languages)

  • 844-YALLA-US or 844-925-5287 (Arabic)

#5 People with criminal records can vote

In Illinois, any citizen over age 18 who has been convicted of any crime or served a prison sentence is eligible to vote once they have completed their sentence. This includes people who are on probation or parole (but not people on furlough from their prison sentence, on work release, or in an Adult Transition Center).

You can also vote if you have been arrested or charged with a crime but have not been convicted, or if you are in pre-trial detention (including most people in Cook County Jail).

According to research from the Law and Policy Think Tank at Stateville Correctional Center, over half of the people incarcerated at Stateville prison don’t know they can vote after release – but 93 percent feel the right to vote is “very important” to them!

Imagine how much more robust our democracy will be when we include every voter in the election process.

*This blog originally appears on www.illinoislegalaid.org as a guest blog post written by Rena Beltran, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.