Primary voting in McHenry County

What is the general primary election and can I vote?

Each party holds a primary to determine their candidate for the general election. You can vote in the primary if you’ll be 18 by election day (November 3rd). You can fill out either a Democratic or Republican ballot, but not both.

The Democratic primary is now between former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. The US Representative from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, is also still running, but she has little support from voters and has no chance of being the nominee. The ballot will likely include a variety of other candidates, however, because many of them suspended their campaigns after the ballots were prepared.

The Republican primary ballot features President Donald Trump and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, but the latter has no chance of becoming the nominee.


Where do I register to vote?

If you haven’t registered yet, you won’t be able to vote in the primary on March 17. However, you can still register to vote in the general election at Just follow the instructions. The registration window will reopen on March 19. 


Where do I vote?

Type in your address on the McHenry County Clerk’s website and it will show you where you can vote. It will also show sample Democratic and Republican ballots.


What do I bring when I vote?

Bring ONE of the following when you go to vote:

  • Your signed voter registration card
  • A current and valid photo identification
  • Paycheck
  • Student ID & mail addressed to your residence
  • Government document

What can I vote for on March 17?
Remember that you can only take one ballot — Democratic or Republican. While the races are the same on each ballot, only some of them will give you a choice for the primary. You can vote for:
The presidential nominee — Sanders(D), Biden (D), Trump(R)
US Senate — Dick Durbin is the incumbent Democrat; there are several Republican options
US House of Representatives — Sean Casten is the incumbent Democrat; Jeanne Ives and Jay Kintzler are vying for the Republican nomination
Delegate to the national nominating convention (vote for the person who supports the candidate you want to win for president)
Other offices — there are several other positions on the ballot, but few are contested. There are three Republicans trying to be county coroner, so you can vote for that if you have strong opinions about it.

Why should students bother to vote?

“I know that it has been said many, many times to the point of becoming a cliché, but your generation is our future and it is of the utmost importance that you not only vote, but become engaged in what is happening with your government at the local, state and national levels. You matter and your votes matter.” (Ruth Scifo, McHenry County Democratic Party, Vice-Chair)


“I would like to see eligible students registering to vote and voting. For democracy to thrive, we must civically engage. This includes things like voting, running for office, serving on commissions and boards, being factually informed, volunteering, and serving as Election Judges.” (Kristina Zahorik, McHenry County Democratic Party, Chair)


“Do not underestimate the power of your vote. Register to vote, then vote every single chance you get. Make sure your voice is heard. Several elections are held in between presidential election years. Vote in those, too — they matter.” (Kathryn Potter, McHenry County Democratic Party District 1 chair)


Representatives of the McHenry County Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment.