Illinois vote-by-mail applications top 1 million

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A person drops into a mail box applications for mail-in ballots, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Postmaster general announced Tuesday he is halting some operational changes to mail delivery that critics warned were causing widespread delays and could disrupt voting in the November election. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he would “suspend” his initiatives until after the election “to avoid even the appearance of impact on election mail.” (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois has received 1,111,387 vote-by-mail applications as of Friday, the Illinois State Board of Elections announced, adding that number is “likely lower than the true total” of such applicants.

The number of requests puts the state on track to “substantially exceed” the record it set for voting
by mail in the 2018 general election, when 430,000 votes were cast by mail, accounting for 9.3 percent of all ballots, according to a release.

This summer, the state’s 108 local election authorities sent mail ballot applications to 6.4 million
Illinoisans who had voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated or 2020 primary elections.

Those mailings were required under a series of special election laws passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Election officials expect the total number of applicants to jump, since 28 state election authorities have not yet reported their totals to the State Board of Elections.

“We are encouraged by the strong response to the ongoing vote-by-mail effort,” State Board
of Elections Executive Director Steve Sandvoss said in a news release. “Voting by mail provides a safe, secure and convenient voting option for those concerned about COVID-19. It also will help ease congestion at in-person polling places during early voting and on Election Day.”

The State Board of Elections encourages voters considering voting by mail to submit their ballot
application as early as possible. Ballots will be mailed to applicants beginning Sept. 24, which is also
the first day of early voting. Voters can apply for a mail ballot on the State Board of Elections website.

Though applications will be accepted through Oct. 29, the State Board of Elections recommends voters apply much earlier, preferably by Oct. 15. This will allow sufficient time for delivery of the ballot to the
voter.

Mail ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day, Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 17 to
be counted.

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