ILLINOIS — More than 1 million people in Illinois have requested mail-in ballots, but state and local election officials said those who plan to vote by mail should take steps to ensure their vote is counted.
The Illinois State Board of Elections announced more than 1.1 million Illinoisans have requested the mail-in option. Local election officials sent out applications to more than 6.2 million people in the state.
ISBE spokesman Matt Dietrich said people still have time to request a mail-in ballot by the Oct. 29 deadline.
“It’s conceivable we could have well, well over that 1.1 million total,” Dietrich said.
Ballots will be sent out beginning Sept. 24. Voters are encouraged to return them promptly.
Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said it is important voters know that if they request a mail-in ballot and decide not to mail it in, they have to have it with them when they show up to vote in person.
“We want you to have that ballot with you,” Gray said. “You have to surrender it to the election judges in your precinct and polling place, and you’ll sign a new application at a polling place, issue a new ballot, you’ll run that through the tabulation machine. We don’t want ballots hanging all over the place.”
Gray said the same goes for people who want to vote early in person. If they request a mail-in ballot, they have to surrender it to election officials.
If not, they may still vote, but it will be a provisional ballot, in what Gray said is their own “quarantine of a ballot.”
“But it’s going to go into an envelope and return it back to the election authority and again be validated by us internally that you had not cast a ballot previously already by mail,” Gray said.
Such votes will be tabulated after being vetted, and after the two weeks following election day.
Gray also said there won’t be any markings on the envelope voters send back to elections authorities indicating any party affiliation.
If the voter mails it in, it must be postmarked no later than election day Nov. 3 and received by the election authority no later than two weeks after that.
Dietrich said the earlier mail-in ballots are returned and ready to count on election day, the clearer the results will be. A final tally delay is expected.
“Really, by Nov. 17, that’s when you will know pretty much what the final results will be,” Dietrich said.
Election results won’t be certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections until Dec. 4.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop
Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.