Illinois was won by Democratic nominee John Kerry by a 10.3% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 12 news organizations considered this a state Kerry would win, or otherwise considered as a safe blue state. A reliable blue state that no Republican has won since 1988, voted for Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004 with almost 55% of the vote. Kerry's victory in Illinois was primarily due carrying 70% of the vote in the Chicago area's Cook County, where about 43% of Illinois' population resides. In the remaining 57% of the state, President George W. Bush won 54.6% (1,749,203 votes) to 45.3% (1,452,265 votes). President Bush was victorious in Chicago's collar counties, although the results in those counties were narrower than his victories downstate.
Illinois has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1992, all by fairly comfortable margins. The blue trend in the Land of Lincoln in presidential elections can be largely attributed to Cook County which contains heavily Democratic Chicago and makes up about 41.2% of the state's total population. Additionally, the historically Republican "collar counties" near Chicago have become friendlier to Democrats at the national level.
Technically the voters of Illinois cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Illinois is allocated 21 electors because it has 19 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 21 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 21 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for President and Vice President. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them. An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.
The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 13, 2004 to cast their votes for President and Vice President. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.
The following were the members of the Electoral College from Illinois. All were pledged to and voted for Kerry and Edwards: