"We are all concerned about efforts to interfere with the post office, question the legitimacy of our elections and suppress the vote.
Here in Illinois, we saw much of this coming, and have been working since May to protect voter’s rights, increase election security, expand access to the polls, and ensure that every Illinoisan will have their vote count.
Due to COVID-19, Illinois’ Vote By Mail (VBM) program will be widely expanded for the upcoming November 3rd general election. This secure alternative to in-person voting will help guarantee that every Illinoisan can safely cast a ballot without endangering their health.
Chicago voters may apply for a VBM ballot directly on the Chicago Board of Elections website. Those registered outside of Chicago can visit the Illinois Board of Elections website to find the appropriate election authority for the county where they live.
Once you have applied online for your VBM ballot, you will get an email notification:
- When your online application has been received and processed
- When your ballot is mailed to you, with a unique USPS tracking number
- When your ballot return envelope is received by the Board of Elections
- When your ballot return envelope has been approved for counting
- IF there is a question or problem with your ballot return envelope
If you do not wish to mail your ballot, you may deposit it in any Secured Drop Box, available at any Chicago Early Voting site starting in mid-October. For those voting outside of Chicago, please check with your local Board of Elections for Secured Drop Box locations.
Call 312-269-7967 on or before Thursday, Oct. 29 to alert the Chicago Board of Elections if you have not received your VBM ballot. For more information on the Chicago VBM program, please visit the Chicago Board of Elections website.
Illinois has also taken action to protect those voting in person. Early voting hours have been extended to 8:30am to 7pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
This year’s early voting schedule will also include a third weekend of open polling. This will reduce the number of people in a polling place at any given time, allowing better social distancing, cutting down on wait times, and giving voters more opportunity to cast their ballot.
Local election authorities can also offer curbside voting for early voting and Election Day.
Election Day, November 3, 2020, is declared a state holiday to facilitate access to the polls during this pandemic, and to be sure that enhanced health and safety precautions can be taken in buildings and facilities used as polling places.
Anyone who is at least 16 years old, a US citizen and an Illinois resident for at least 30 days may serve as an election judge. If you or someone you know is interested in serving, please go online for details.
The freedom to vote is one of the most important and hard-won rights in our democracy. These protections will ensure that every vote counts in Illinois, and that no pandemic and no efforts to suppress the vote will stop you from having your voice heard.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please do not hesitate to email me at Greg@GregHarris.org or call 773-348-3434."