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3/16/16- 2016 Election Year – How to be a Voter Registrar in Cook County

Get Involved

Individuals who serve as deputy registrars play a vital role in the democratic process by registering people to vote.

All deputy registrars working in Illinois are sponsored by a certified organization or state agency and have been trained by a county clerk’s office or other election authority.


A Cook County deputy registrar must be:

  • Registered to vote in Cook County
  • Sponsored by a registered state, civic or labor organization, school, or corporation.
  • Trained by the Clerk’s office
  • 18 years old by the upcoming election day

Signing up voters

A recent change in state law now allows deputy registrars to sign up voters anywhere in Illinois — not only the jurisdiction where they live or were trained.

As a deputy registrar, you will verify the identity of the person registering to vote, complete the registration card and return it to one of our designated sites.

Registrars return the completed forms to the Cook County Clerk’s office or the nearest township clerk’s office within seven days. The Clerk’s office then adds the names to the voter rolls and the new voters will each receive a voter identification card in the mail within a few weeks.


To become a deputy registrar, a sponsoring organization certified by the State Board of Elections must submit your name to the Clerk’s office. Certified sponsors include community organizations, interest groups, churches, schools, unions, political parties and campaigns and local political organizations.

If you have questions about an organization or want to know which ones are certified, call the Clerk’s office at (312) 603-0987.


The Cook County Clerk’s office trains people who want to become deputy registrars in suburban Cook County at the request of their sponsoring organization. You must attend a one-hour training session and take the deputy registrar oath.

All individuals with a sponsoring organization who wish to attend one of these classes must contact Jonathan Williams at (312) 603-0987 at least two days prior to taking the class in order to enroll.

If your bona fide state civic organization would like to host a deputy registrar training class for your members, please click here for the Deputy Registrar Training Request form. Please note: in order to schedule a class, you must have at least 20 people for training.

ID cards and numbers

Once you have been trained, you will issued an official deputy registrar identification card and an ID number. This number MUST be put on all registrations you turn in.


For deputy registrars being recommissioned by their sponsoring organization, click here to download the Deputy Voter Registrar Oath form. The term for recommissioned deputy registrars is from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2014.

Training Manual

Please click here to download a PDF of the deputy registrar training manual.


Deputy registrar commissions expire on November 30th of every even-numbered year.


Deputy registrars are strictly forbidden from engaging in electioneering, which includes discussing politics, wearing buttons, handing out literature, or promoting a candidate or cause while signing up voters.


Deputy registrars may register people to vote until the registration deadline — 27 days before an election.

Target voters

Although there are several ways for people to register to vote, some 250,000 qualified individuals (U.S. citizens who are 18 or older) living in suburban Cook County remain unregistered. Those who may need to register include people who have recently moved, changed their name, become U.S. citizens or turned 18.

Deputy registrars can start by signing up friends and neighbors. Village fairs, picnics, religious events and block parties present ideal opportunities to conduct a voter registration event. Ask your organization about setting up a registration table at the next meeting or event.

Plan activities

  • Select a location. Always receive permission before setting up a registration area.
  • Arrange for supplies. Make sure a table and chairs are available.
  • Publicize the activity. You may want to print fliers or write a press release to promote the event. The Clerk’s office can supply signs to post the day of the event.


Q: Why do I need to be sponsored? Why can’t I just sign up and be trained?

A: By law, deputy registrars must be sponsored by a state board of elections certified bona fide state labor, civic organization, school or corporation.

Q: Do I get paid for being a deputy registrar?

A: No, it is a volunteer position.

Source: Cook County Clerk

Important facts

Deputy registrars must be trained, take an oath, and be appointed as provided by state law.

Deputy registrars must be registered to vote in the jurisdiction in which they are appointed.

Deputy registrars must not engage in any form of electioneering while registering voters. This includes working for or against a proposition or candidate while conducting voter registration.

Deputy registrars can be removed for cause.

Deputy registrars must complete registration forms neatly and follow the specific directions of the election authority.

Deputy registrars must return completed registration materials within 7 days of completion.

If new registrations or cancellations are taken between the 28th and 35th day before the election, deputy registrars must return completed materials to the election authority within 48 hours.

If registrations or cancellations are taken on the last day for registration, deputy registrars must return all the registration material to the election authority within 24 hours.

The primary goal of the State Board of Elections is to help bring about greater understanding and participation in the electoral process.

Source: Chicago Board of Election Commissioners

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