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VBM applications are 8 times higher than the same period four years ago

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020

* 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.

Matt Dietrich
Public Information Officer
Illinois State Board of Elections

* Attachments…

* October 18, 2016 ISBE report

* October 13, 2018 ISBE report

* FAQ

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments »
  1. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:20 pm:

    I have a question for anybody here who has already requested and received a VBM ballot. Do the accompanying info and instructions make clear that you can still vote in person either early or on election day–but that you will need to bring in your unvoted VBM ballot to officially relinquish it and get a new ballot? As someone who is assigned to be an election judge on election day I am just wondering how much confusion there will be on this process from folks who ordered a VBM “just in case” but intend to vote in person. Thanks


  2. - Morningstar - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:26 pm:

    Yes. Instructions on my ballot were very clear. A co-worker showed me instructions he received, and though they were formatted differently (and smaller print), they still said that in-person voting required him to bring the ballot he received in the mail.


  3. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:30 pm:

    I have a friend in Cook County whose VBM ballot has been in limbo since 9/28 (i.e., apparently not even mailed yet).

    Lake County ballot is clear but envelope isn’t - very easy to sign the authorization to let someone else deliver it rather than signing the verification statement.


  4. - Huh? - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:32 pm:

    Responsa - I did request and receive an absentee ballot. As I recall, there wasn’t any information about what to do if someone decides to vote in person and what to do with the absentee ballot.

    QI had read a newspaper article that said a voter should take the absentee ballot with them to the polling place. The election judges would “spoil” the absentee ballot and then issue a new paper ballot.

    What happened when I voted in person was that the election judge inserted the absentee ballot into an envelope marked “spoiled”, went into the computer database and deleted the absentee ballot and issued a new paper ballot. It took about 10 minutes for the process to be completed.


  5. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:36 pm:

    I voted by mail (by drop box actually) in Chicago and the directions are very clear. Problem is that you have to actually read the directions and/or watch the video.
    I used the drop box at 69 W. Washington. It was outdoors (unlike what it shows in the instructional video) and I received an email that evening saying that it was received and would be counted.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 6:51 pm:

    “Do the accompanying info and instructions make clear that you can still vote in person either early or on election day–but that you will need to bring in your unvoted VBM ballot to officially relinquish it and get a new ballot?”

    Yes, it is made clear in the instructions.

    Terrific news on the breaking of early voting records so far. Tax ads are flying on TV. Just saw one point out where on the ballot to vote yes. Vote, vote, vote.


  7. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 7:04 pm:

    The instructions are very clear.
    The problem is that you have to actually read them.


  8. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 8:28 pm:

    Instruction were very easy and clear. Turned my ballot in at the local court house. Clerk had a staffed table to accept ballots. Envelope had barcode info they scanned into their records to prove I turned it in. On election day the clerks data print out will show I already voted and I will not be allowed to vote again.


  9. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 13, 20 @ 11:00 pm:

    Thank you to those who replied to my question. I am well versed and prepared on the process to be followed at the polls should someone come in to vote in person after having received a VBM. My question/concern is that they may not know to (or remember) that they must physically bring their unvoted ballot with them and turn it in to be voided in order to cast a vote on a new ballot in person. The process Huh? described is the correct one. Tiny Dancer succinctly addresses my genuine concern.


  10. - weeds - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 8:18 am:

    Responsa, “reconciliation” question.

    Does the election judge see the VBM status on the voter roll?

    For example, I show up to vote in person, but had also requested a VBM ballot.
    Does election judge know this?
    What does election judge do?
    Is a provisional ballot provided?
    Who/how is integrity of one vote assured?

    I found the FAQ on ISBE website but this is not addressed.


  11. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Oct 14, 20 @ 9:44 am:

    Chicago Board of Election Commissioners site states that if you could not apply on time, or do not receive your ballot, or lose your ballot or lose your Ballot Return Envelope, or cannot get your Ballot Return Envelope in the mail by Election Day you can:

    “Cancel your mail ballot and receive and cast an Election Day ballot at the polling place assigned to your precinct on Tues., Nov. 3. If the voter has the mail ballot, that ballot should be surrendered to the election judges. If the voter does not have the mail ballot, the voter may cast a provisional ballot after completing a provisional-ballot affidavit.”


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