How, When, and Where to Vote in Champaign County in the November 2020 General Election
Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a responsibility and a privilege. Whether the position at stake is as powerful as the President of the United States, or as local as a member of the Champaign County Board, elections have consequences for your future.
On November 3, 2020, voters across the United States will go to the polls to elect thousands of public officials — local, state, and federal — as well as to approve or reject any referendum questions that have been placed on the ballot. Some of these candidates already won a primary election (against members of their own party) or were selected at a party convention or caucus earlier this year, in order to represent their party on the General Election ballot.
The main goal of this article is to make it as easy as possible for Champaign County voters to cast their ballots in this General Election, whether you vote by mail, vote early — it’s possible to do it RIGHT NOW! — or vote on Election Day itself. Read on to find out how, when, and where you can vote!
The election information in this post is compiled by chambanamoms.com as a courtesy, and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date. The Office of the Champaign County Clerk is the authoritative source of all election information in Champaign County. To get voting information for other East Central Illinois counties, see links below.
What’s different in 2020?
Running an election during a pandemic is a logistical nightmare. At the state level, Illinois has implemented changes to make November’s election easier and safer, including giving many state workers the day off on November 3, expanding vote-by-mail options, mandating increased hours for early voting, and allowing for ballot drop boxes (more on that below).
For those who wish to vote in person, the Champaign County Clerk’s Office has worked to make early voting as safe as possible for both staff and the public: masks required for everyone, election judges behind plexiglass panels, socially distanced line markers and voting stations, and hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray galore. Most notably, the start of in-person early voting has been moved from inside the Clerk’s office to the much larger gym in the Brookens Administrative Center (1776 E. Washington St., Urbana).
What’s on the ballot?
All elections are important, but here is a condensed list of races for Champaign County voters. One of the best places to get non-partisan information about local candidates and referendum questions is votechampaign.org. (We didn’t list uncontested races. Do you know your districts? Check here.)
- US President and Vice President
- US Congress: 1 Senate seat (IL) and 2 House seats (Illinois 13, Illinois 15)
- IL State Representatives: 1 State Senate seat (52nd), 3 State Representative seats (102nd, 103rd, 104th Districts)
- IL 6th Circuit: 2 races for Circuit Court Judges
- Champaign County Board: Seats in Districts 3, 4, 5, 6, 10
- Other Champaign County offices: Circuit Clerk, Treasurer, Recorder, Coroner, Auditor
- Referendum questions: Illinois Graduated Income Tax; Champaign County Forest Preserve District Tax
How do I vote by mail?
All voters are eligible to vote by mail; you must simply request, complete, and return the ballot on time. All ballots come with a postage-paid envelope! The last day the County Clerk will fulfill a vote-by-mail request is five days prior to the election, or Thursday, October 29, 2020. (A ballot may be requested online, over the phone, or by mail, as long as your request is received by October 29.)
- For your ballot to be counted, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day — November 3, 2020.
- All vote by mail ballots come with tracking, meaning you will know when your ballot is en route to you and when it has been received by the County Clerk.
- You may also choose to return your ballot in an authorized drop box by 7:00 p.m. on November 3.
What is a ballot drop box? Where are they located?
These are 24-hour-accessible, ¼-inch steel, waterproof, highly secure boxes that are screwed into cement pads at seven locations (under “Returning Your Ballot”) in Champaign-Urbana and temporarily available in four other Champaign County locations. The contents of each dropbox are retrieved daily by two Election Judges (one from each party) and taken directly to the County Clerk’s office, rather than using the postal service. The tracking on your ballot will let you know when it has been secured at its destination.
When and where can I vote early?
Here’s the fine print on early voting: “All eligible voters can vote early and they can vote at ANY of the early voting locations. Once a voter has voted early, they cannot rescind that vote. It is final.” At each location, a ballot is printed for each early voter, so your ballot will include only the races tied to your address of record. Grace Period Registration and Voting will be available at all early voting locations between October 7 and November 3. That means you can register to vote – and then vote immediately afterwards – at these locations, up to and including Election Day.
You can even vote on Saturday and Sunday right before the election. How awesome is that?
Early voting opened on September 24 — 40 days before Election Day — at the Brookens Administrative Center Gymnasium. Eleven additional sites throughout the county will host early voting starting on October 19 — which is 14 days before Election Day.
Brookens Administrative Center, Gymnasium: 1776 E. Washington St., Urbana (Closest parking for the gym is on the north side of Brookens, off Art Bartell Road)
- September 24, 2020 – October 18, 2020, Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM
- October 19, 2020 – November 2, 2020, Monday-Friday from 8AM-7PM and Saturday & Sunday from 9AM-5PM.
Additional early voting locations open October 19, 2020 – November 2, 2020
- Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) – 201 East Peabody Drive, Champaign
- Illini Union – 1401 West Green Street, Urbana
- Lake of the Woods, Elk’s Pavilion, 301 Senna Drive, Mahomet
- Leonhard Recreation Center, 2307 Sangamon Drive, Champaign
- Meadowbrook Community Church, 1902 South Duncan Road, Champaign
- Parkland College, Student Life Center, 2400 W Bradley, Champaign
- Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 802 East Douglas Street, St. Joseph
- The Church of the Living God, 312 East Bradley Avenue, Champaign
- The Gathering Place, 220 S Marshall, Rantoul
- Tolono Public Library, 111 East Main Street, Tolono
- University YMCA, 1001 S Wright St, Champaign
All additional early voting sites open Monday-Friday from 10AM-6PM, Saturday from 10AM-3PM, Sunday from 1PM-5PM.
Can I vote early even if I requested a ballot by mail?
Yes. According to the County Clerk, just take your vote by mail ballot with you to your polling place, surrender it to the Election Judge, and they will issue you a new ballot. (If you do not have your vote by mail ballot, you may ask the Election Judge to let you sign an affidavit stating that you will destroy it.) You are encouraged to use your vote by mail ballot if you have it. If you’re not comfortable mailing it back, you can take it to a drop box (described above).
Where’s my polling place on Election Day? What district am I in? How do I know if I am registered to vote?
On Election Day voters have an assigned polling place, and all 80+ county polling places are open from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. You may also choose to vote at a universal polling place.
The Champaign County Clerk’s website features a handy tool that lets you confirm your registration, identify your polling place, view a sample ballot, learn what districts you vote in — all in one fell swoop.
Where can I find voting information for other counties?
For additional counties in Illinois, check the Illinois Board of Elections list of election authorities.
What ID should I bring to vote?
Generally, no identification or “voter card” is required to vote at the polling place. If you have not changed your voter registration address or name since the last election and your signature matches the signature on your registration, you should not need to show ID. If you have updated your voter registration address or name, or your signature does not match, you may be asked for ID. If you are concerned at all about your identification, we’ve linked to valid forms of ID voters can use.
Can I bring my kids to vote?
[Every other year: Voting is exciting! Yes, kids are allowed at the polls through the whole process. If you’re lucky enough to have a polling location that uses curtains for privacy, they’ll love that — I know mine do! Early voting is a great way to bring the kids – typically no lines.]
2020: Voting is still exciting, but crowds are not. Try to limit the number of people who accompany you to vote if at all possible.
Can I post a selfie of me and my ballot?
Photographing a marked ballot is actually a felony in Illinois! Proceed at your own risk.
No matter what your ideology, we all need to make sure we raise our voices. So GO VOTE! And then flaunt your “I Voted” sticker for all to see.