With early voting under way in the 2020 election – and a record number of mail-in ballots being distributed and returned across the State of Illinois – voters need access to more information about how they can assure their vote is recorded in November. As Election Day nears, voters also need more information about how they can change their minds, and vote in person even if they have requested a mail-in ballot.
The ACLU of Illinois wants every voter to know that:
- If a voter already has received a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter can return it to an early voting site or the appropriate polling place on Election Day. Once the voter surrenders the vote-by-mail ballot to an election judge, that ballot is voided, and the voter can cast a regular ballot.
- If a voter requested – by has not yet received – a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter can go to an early voting site or their polling place on Election Day. The voter will be asked to sign an affidavit certifying they did not receive the vote-by-mail ballot. The voter should then be issued – and can vote – a regular ballot.
- If a voter received a requested vote-by-mail ballot but lost it, the voter can go to an early voting site or their local polling place on Election Day, and sign an affidavit certifying they have not cast a ballot. The voter then receives a provisional ballot.
- If a voter receives a vote-by-mail ballot after the voter has voted in person – either early or on Election Day, the voter must discard the vote-by-mail ballot. Do not attempt to vote-by-mail after you have voted in person. Doing so is a Class 3 felony. (And because voting systems will not allow more than one vote per voter, your mail ballot will be rejected.)
“We need to speak with one, loud voice on this issue,” said Michelle Hernandez, Advocacy Associate at the ACLU of Illinois. “With concerns about the Postal Service and loud, public attacks on the legitimacy of mail-in voting, and delays in getting vote-by-mail ballots to voters, some people who have requested a mail-in ballot need know that they can still change their voting plans to vote in person, either in early voting or on Election Day.”
“It is critical to get this message out now – as people are making decisions in real time.”