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Illinois Secretary of State’s voting letter sparks confusion among the community

Local voting officials say some residents interpreted the letter as vote by mail as their only option.
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A recent letter sent out by the Illinois Secretary of State regarding mail-in voting leaves many residents with more questions than answers.

“The phone started ringing and they rang all day and we could hardly keep up," said Rockford Board of Election Commissioners Executive Director Stacey Bixby.

The letter was sent out as a reminder to those who haven’t signed and returned their vote by mail application yet however many say the letter made it seem like they would have no way to vote at a polling place.

“So a lot of people are wondering if the polling places are not going to be open and we’ve just been reassuring them that they are going to be open on election day, we’re still doing early voting like normal, but they have the option to vote by mail if they still choose to," said Ogle County Clerk and Recorder Laura Cook.

Bixby says this reminder is actually a requirement according to election regulations.

“You don’t have to vote through the mail, but its upsetting a lot of people because they don’t understand why they’re getting it and because of the Senate Bill 1863 and the pandemic this is just something that has been mandated to help remind people they have the option to vote through the mail," said Bixby.

Leaders say all you need to know is that you still have options.

“Once you mail your application back we still start mailing ballots September 24 and if you don’t want to put your ballot back in the mail you can hand carry it back here into our office or we will have a drop box out on Second Avenue that you can put your ballot in and it will be locked and secured,” said Bixby.

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