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Ballot applications way up

Thursday, Oct 11, 2018

* As early voting, no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registration/voting become more commonplace and understood, the usage rates naturally rise. So, it may not be accurate to assume this year’s big surge in mail-in ballot requests automatically means a surge in interest. But it’s still pretty interesting because the Pritzker campaign and the state’s Democratic Party have put lots of effort into this mail-in push

Requests for mail-in ballots in Illinois have surpassed 2014 numbers, and they’re outpacing ballot requests from two years ago, too — remarkable given that was a presidential election year. And there are still three weeks left to apply for a ballot.

In Chicago, mail-in requests are expected to overtake the all-time record set in 1944, a presidential year. That’s when the city had “tens of thousands” of voters serving in Europe and the South Pacific during World War II, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen told POLITICO. That year, Chicago handled 116,117 mail-in applications. Fast-forward to Illinois removing the rule that voters needed an excuse to vote by mail. In 2014, there were 38,982 requests for mail-in ballots, and in 2016, 93,518. For this year’s midterms, Chicago has seen about 80,000 mail-ballot applications. “With three weeks to go, we haven’t hit our heaviest period,” Allen said.

Statewide, there have been 310,532 requests so far for mail-in ballots. That’s up from 2014, when 268,218 requests were made, and it’s expected to exceed the 370,740 requests made in 2016, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

In Cook County, 75,688 mail-ballot applications have been requested–so far. That compares with 108,000 in 2016. “We’re going to come close, and that would be significant,” Cook County Clerk David Orr told POLITICO. In 2014, 62,000 early voting ballots were sent out.

I prefer to wait until election day to vote. Part of it is my own tradition, but one excuse I’ve used for a few cycles is that scandals have a tendency to break in the final weeks and I prefer not to cast my ballot until all the oppo is in.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    I’m with you, Rich. You never know if some pretty freaky, game changing stuff might drop in the final days.

  2. - The Captain - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    Congrats to the Strategy Group, we’ll all be drinking on your bar tab for a while.

  3. - Yup! - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    Agreed. Waking up and voting at the crack of down is an exciting feeling.

  4. - ugh - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    –I prefer to wait until election day to vote. .–

    I believe your good if you request the ballot now, but wait till the day before the election to actually fill it out and mail it back!

    That way you can blog all day on election day!!

  5. - JoanP - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    I agree about waiting just in case something major breaks, but my primary reason for waiting is simply that I enjoy going to the polls and hanging out with my neighbors. There’s just something about all of us there together doing our civic duty that appeals to me.

  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    –…I prefer not to cast my ballot until all the oppo is in.–

    Same here.

    I did vote early in 2014 after Rauner and his business partner, Ferro the Tronclodyte, muscled Dave McKinney for doing his job.

    That blatantly corrupt insider-dealing was enough for me to make sure my vote was counted in case I got hit by a bus before election day.

  7. - Cromulent M. Biggens - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Campaign season is already way too long without voters casting early ballots to effectively stretch it more. That said, I’ve voted early the past several elections, and will probably do so again next week when at my county courthouse for other matters. So, yes, I’m hypocritical.

    The point about last-minute scandals breaking is interesting, but are candidates adjusting their timelines to get their oppo and other stuff out earlier?

  8. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:43 am:

    I also like voting on Election Day. It is nice to see the neighbors and Election Day volunteers and workers.
    Not sure I like the choices, but it is what it is. Also you should always be able to find a new face or issue to get you out to vote.

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    ===we’ll all be drinking on your bar tab for a while===

    A buddy of mine got a four-page mailer from Pritzker, targeted for central Illinois. Pete is indeed doing well this year.

  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    ===in case I got hit by a bus before election day===

    There is that.

  11. - Liandro - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    “…in case I got hit by a bus before election day”

    I also prefer election day, but I’ve early voted a couple times for similar reasons to Word.

  12. - ChicagoVinny - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    I voted by mail for the primary and can’t imagine voting any other way now (mailing my ballot today).

  13. - Cindy Lou - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    I like my different options to be able to vote. I refuse to vote by mail, but am weather dependent (wheel chair) to be able to count on voting solely on actual election day.

    Meaning if it were raining, snowing and/or icy I could not go down the ramp and go vote.

    I’m set to vote on Monday the 22nd of October, but have the other choices of going into the Election Commission office to vote any day Monday-Friday, doing the early voting days starting Oct 29th through Nov 4th at the college campus (weekend voting is a nice opportunity and easier access than election office) or hoping weather is good on the actual day.

    My mind is made up, it would have to be one heck of a breaking scandal to make me regret my vote.

  14. - Langhorne - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    I voted early for the first time. Rauner sent me the ballot app, which shows me he is an effective governor and campaigner. /s
    The postage to send me my ballot was $1.63. I would like to see an estimate of early voting costs. I wonder how many counties are caught short, as early ballot numbers shoot up.

  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 11:13 am:

    My late spouse got a mailer reminding them to request a mail-in ballot because they haven’t voted as much as the average person. A little cross checking of lists might not hurt.

  16. - anon2 - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    I also used to enjoy the civic ritual of going to the polls with my neighbors one day a year. But voting by mail is a real convenience for those who can’t go in person. It also allows college kids to vote, if they have someone like an attentive precinct captain reminding them, mailing them an application, and a stamped return envelope.

  17. - Streamwood Retiree - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    A tip from when I was an election judge: 10:00AM is the best time. The morning rush is over and the lunch rush hasn’t started. What there mostly is are young mothers arriving with their babies and toddlers. And old duffers like me.

    When I was a postal employee I had Mondays and Tuesdays off so I always went in person. Before that I had an employerr who would send me out of town on only an hour’s notice so I always voted absentee just to be sure I could. Now, of course, I have all the time in the world and enjoy going down to the polls at 10:00AM and chatting with the judges and poll watchers about turn out and such.

  18. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    Something to consider - if you vote early, then most campaigns will scrub you from their mailing list.

    So if you don’t like getting political mail, you should vote early.

    I on the other hand am fascinated by political mail so I always vote Election Day or one of the last couple days of early voting.

  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    I like to wait as well. I got a mailer from the Sangamon County Republican Party yesterday that told me to vote for Erica Harold for State Comptroller. If I’d voted early I would have never know to vote for her for Comptroller.

  20. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    If I thought voting early could somehow be connected to stopping political ads from appearing on TV, radio, computer, I’d do it. But I voted early once and the ads just kept coming.

  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    –I got a mailer from the Sangamon County Republican Party yesterday that told me to vote for Erica Harold for State Comptroller.–

    LOL, must be the same crew that did all the signage at the state fair.

  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    Demoralized, could you take a pic of that mailer and email it to me please? Thanks.

  23. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    Will do it tonight.

  24. - Mama - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 5:10 pm:

    I vote on Election Day due to not trusting the early ballots to be included in the final count.

  25. - Wensicia - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    This is my first time using a mail-in ballot. I don’t expect any last minute scandels in my county, I’m set on whom I’ll vote for, and this is very convenient considering my work hours.

  26. - Streamwood Retiree - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 5:40 pm:

    =I vote on Election Day due to not trusting the early ballots to be included in the final count.=
    Same reason I don’t use the machines or vote early (need to use the machines).
    From 1979 to 2003 I made my living programming embedded machines. I know how easy they are to be controlled. I want a paper ballot that can be recounted. The machines should print a paper ballot that can be scanned and recounted by hand if necessary.
    I’m paranoid? Google “Sequoia machines paper trail”

  27. - Wensicia - Thursday, Oct 11, 18 @ 5:45 pm:

    BTW: A mail-in ballot is good as long as it’s postmarked on or before election day. There’s no rush, at least in my county.

  28. - brugroffil - Friday, Oct 12, 18 @ 10:05 am:

    been early voting and more recently absentee voting for about a decade now. last actual election day vote was probably 2008?

    I know which party is closest to my political beliefs, and which party is so far away that I can’t imagine ever voting for them. Plus, I often have to travel last-minute for work, so I might not even be in the state on e-day.

    Glad that Illinois is going with automatic registration, and that we’ve had good early voting access and no-excuse absentee for awhile now.

  29. - Jerry - Monday, Oct 15, 18 @ 9:33 am:

    Here’s a question: Does the large number of mail-in ballots then cause election results to not be known for days later? As I understand it, the mail-ins only need to be postmarked by 11/6, end of day. By the time USPS delivers them, it could be the next weekend before they are all counted…….

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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