Over 840,000 Illinoisans have requested vote-by-mail ballots
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - More than 695,000 people in Illinois have already voted in the Midterm election. The Illinois State Board of Elections said Monday that a significant amount of people are deciding to vote by mail.
ISBE officials said vote-by-mail applications have been off the charts compared to elections before the COVID-19 pandemic. There were roughly 420,000 votes cast by mail in 2018, which made up about 9% of the votes.
As of Monday morning, there are 841,270 vote-by-mail ballots requested and 400,385 people have returned their ballots to local election authorities. That’s already 47.6% of the requested vote-by-mail ballots cast for the General Election.
ISBE spokesman Matt Dietrich said Illinois voters could potentially double the previous record for vote-by-mail ballots.
“We did have 15% of the vote in the primary election cast by mail. It was a very low-turnout election and we’ll have a much higher turnout this time,” Dietrich said. “But that could be an indicator that we’re in for 15-20% of the vote being cast by mail or more.”
Voters cannot return vote-by-mail ballots at polling places. They must return the ballot by mail, put it inside a vote-by-mail drop box, or deliver it to their local election authority.
The State Board of Elections said the deadline to apply for vote-by-mail ballots is Thursday, but officials would prefer for people to apply as soon as possible.
“Give the clerk’s office time to get your ballot together and the postal service time to get it delivered to you in time to vote on or before election day,” Dietrich said.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before election day to be counted. They can arrive up to two weeks after November 8, but the ballot needs that postmark.
Dietrich said the Board expects to see voter turnout to be anywhere between 50-57% for this election.
“You never know until the polls close what the ultimate number will be,” Dietrich said. “There seems to be a lot of people energized around recent elections. There is a lot of social media effort to get people registered to vote. We’ve got about 8.1 million voters. It really just depends on how energized they end up being.”
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