Investigation into missing Illinois absentee ballot applications

(Photo: AP - Alan Diaz)
(Photo: AP - Alan Diaz)

CHICAGO (KWQC) — The Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois State Board of Elections are telling voters to check on their requests for absentee ballots. If you got a form in the mail from a third party and sent it in, but haven’t received your ballot yet, you might want to check with the clerk’s office to make sure they got the request.

The Rock Island County Clerk tells KWQC that officials are investigating what appears to be a delay in receiving some of those third party requests. With election deadlines approaching, they want to be sure those requests are processed in time.

In addition, the board of elections says voters who applied for a vote-by-mail ballot and didn’t receive it or have not sent in a completed ballot still have the right to vote in person during the early voting period or on election day.

Officials say any voter who wants to vote by mail should follow the steps below to make sure they receive a ballot in time to vote in the November 8, 2016 election. Illinois voters who receive a solicitation to request a vote by mail ballot can instead follow these steps to request their ballot directly from their local county election authorities.

• Request an application. Registered voters who wish to vote by mail must first fill out an application to receive the ballot. Voters can request an application in person or have one mailed to them by their local election authority. Some counties also have applications online.
• Apply for a ballot. A voter must fill out the application by providing certain information, including the address where the ballot should be mailed and by certifying they are eligible to vote in this election, and return the application to their local election authorities. Mailed applications to request a ballot must be received by the election authority by November 3.
• Vote by mail. Once a voter receives their ballot, follow the instructions to vote by mail. The ballot must be completed, signed and sealed in the certification envelope. Ballots must be signed and postmarked by Election Day, November 8, to be counted in the election. Voters can also turn in their vote-by-mail ballot to county election authorities before 7 p.m. on election day.
• Check the status of your ballot through your county authorities. A list of county election authorities can be found at http://www.elections.il.gov.
• If you have not received your vote-by-mail ballot, you can vote during the early voting period or on election day.
Newly registered voters who did not provide adequate identification information with their registration need to show identification to obtain a vote-by-mail ballot.

Instead of voting by mail, Illinois residents can vote during the early voting period that is going on now through November 7, 2016. Voters should be aware that they can register to vote and cast their ballot at the same time during the early voting process.

Residents who are registering to vote and casting a ballot at the same time should contact their county election authority to find out which local polling location they should visit to both register to vote and cast a ballot.

To find early voting locations, visit the Illinois Board of Elections website for a list of locations.

Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, November 8. Voters who are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. must be allowed to cast their vote.

Voters should also be aware of a new law that allows voters to register to vote and cast their ballot at the same time on election day.

Under Illinois law, counties with a population of 100,000 or more must provide voters with the option of registering to vote and casting their ballots at the same time at polling places on election day.

Counties with a population of 100,000 or less which use electronic poll books must also provide voters with the option of registering to vote and casting their ballots at the same time at polling places on election day. Smaller counties that do not maintain voter records electronically must offer election day registration at the county’s main election office or at polling places in the county’s larger municipalities.

Voters registering to vote on election day should be prepared to show two forms of identification. The most common forms of ID include a driver’s license or a utility bill, at least one of which must show your current address. If your voter registration is active and current, you do not need to show identification to cast your vote.

More information about the voting process and the status of your voter registration can be found on the Illinois Board of Elections website or through local county clerks’ offices.

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