* Media advisory…
Dear Editors and Reporters:
As Election Day nears, we and local election authorities are fielding many questions regarding voting by mail. On the assumption that you probably are hearing these questions from your readers, viewers and listeners, I wanted to provide you with the FAQ document from our website. It addresses the questions we’ve heard most often and contains background on voting by mail in general.
As in past elections, the most frequently asked question pertains to voters who request a mail ballot but then decide they’re rather vote in person.
Also attached are spreadsheets showing the early voting and vote-by-mail numbers as of today and those for Nov. 18, 2016, which also was three weeks before the election. This year, we have recorded more than double the number of early votes cast three weeks before the 2016 election – 177,652 to 87,777. (Please note that you will need to add columns F and G to get early vote totals. “Grace” refers to votes cast after Oct. 6 by voters registering to vote during grace period registration, which begins 27 days before an election. Those who register in person during the grace period must vote at the time of registration.)
The 2.15 million vote-by-mail applications for 2020 is more than eight times the number of applications at this time in the 2016 election cycle.
I also want to remind you of some important dates and deadlines for your election coverage. While Illinois law allows a voter to request a vote-by-mail ballot through Oct. 29, we are strongly encouraging those who wish to vote by mail to submit their application much earlier – preferably by Oct. 15. Details are explained the FAQ.
Also, while we like to point out that voter registration in Illinois never closes before the polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, online voter registration closes at the end of the day Oct. 18. This week is a good time to remind your readers, viewers and listeners of that deadline, after which they can still register to vote at all early voting locations and at their polling place on Election Day.
Voters can find their early voting locations and hours on our website here: https://www.elections.il.gov/VotingAndRegistrationSystems/EarlyVotingLocationsSearch.aspx?MID=A3RIOjKplz4%3d&T=637382038855557239
They can register to vote and check their registration status here: https://ova.elections.il.gov/?Name=Em5DYCKC4wXCKQSXTgsQ9knm%2b5Ip27VC&T=637382039361886355
Please let me know if you have additional questions and thank you for your coverage so far.
Public Information Officer
Illinois State Board of Elections
* October 18, 2016 ISBE report
* October 13, 2018 ISBE report