Make Your Vote Count! 10 Answers to Your FAQs

Your vote has never been more important! That’s why WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND VOTING BY MAIL AS THE SAFEST WAY TO MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS ON NOVEMBER 3, 2020. Questions? You can call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683). But first please check out our answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which should explain exactly what to do.

  1. How do I arrange to vote by mail?

If you are a registered voter, you can request a ballot by submitting an “application.” You can do that wholly online or by returning a paper application. If you live in Lake County, go to LakeVoterPower.info. If you live in Cook County, go to https://mailvoting.cookcountyclerkil.gov/en/Application/ApplicantInformation.

  1. What if I’m not registered to vote or not sure I’m registered in Illinois?

To find out whether you’re registered to vote in Illinois, go to https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx. Or call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683), and a volunteer will check for you.

If you’re not registered in Illinois, and you are a U.S. citizen, will turn 18 years of age by November 3, 2020, will have lived at your address for at least 30 days prior to November 3, and don’t claim the right to vote anywhere else, you may register to vote.

You can register in person with a Deputy Voter Registrar through October 6, 2020. You will need a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID.

Online registration is available through 11:59 pm on October 18, 2020, at https://ova.elections.il.gov/. You must provide a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, the date the license or identification was issued, AND your birth date.

Starting October 19, 2020, you can register to vote at any Early Voting site in your county or, on Election Day, at the polling place assigned to your residential address; however, you must also vote at that time. This process is known as Grace Period Registration or Same Day Registration. You’ll need two pieces of identification, one of which shows your address. Acceptable ID includes a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID and a letter to you at your address from a utility, school, or other official sender. If you have questions about valid forms of id, you can call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683).

  1. I’ve received multiple applications for ballots in the mail. Are they legitimate?

Several Democratic and other civic organizations are mailing ballots to registered voters. You need not worry about the legitimacy of those mailings as long as they call for returning the enclosed application form to your County Clerk’s office (check the address on the return envelope). If you have any questions about an application form you receive in the mail, you can apply online, which you can be sure is official, or call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683) for help.

  1. What is the deadline for submitting an application to request a mail-in ballot?

You can submit the application to request a mail-in ballot any time up until October 29, 2020, but we strongly recommend you do so right away. The earlier you request your ballot, the earlier you can return it, and the more time you’ll have to make sure everything is in order.

  1. How can I make sure my application to request a mail-in ballot was received?

If you live in Lake County, go to LakeVoterPower.info, and after filling in your personal information, click the button, “Track My Mail Ballot.” If you live in Cook County, go to https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/service/your-voter-information, click the button, “What Is My Mail Ballot Status?” and fill in the requested information

  1. When can I expect to receive my mail-in ballot?

Starting on September 24, 2020, County Clerks will mail ballots to all registered voters who previously requested one by submitting an application. If you wait to request your ballot until after October 1, 2020, your County Clerk must mail the ballot to you within two business days of receiving your application. You can use the links in Answer Number 5 to track your application and ballot.

  1. What if I get a mail-in ballot and then decide I want to vote in person?

Just bring your mail-in ballot and certification envelope that came with it (or any parts you can find) to your polling place once in-person voting begins, return them to an election judge, and request a regular ballot to vote then and there. Easy! But having that ballot in hand before the polls are open for in-person voting ensures that if you decide you’d rather not leave home, or if anything else keeps you from the polls, you can still vote.

  1. How do I return my mail-in ballot, and what’s the deadline?

The simplest and safest way to return your mail-in ballot is to place it in a secure drop box. Mail-in ballots must be returned or postmarked no later than Election Day, November 3, 2020, but we encourage you to return yours as soon as possible.

In Lake County, beginning on September 24, 2020, and continuing through Election Day, November 3, 2020, you can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in any of four 24-hour, secure postage-free drop boxes that will be located outside the main entrances of certain branch court buildings. Go to https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/36233/Drop-Box-Locations-all for the exact locations.

The Lake County Clerk also will provide drop boxes at 17 early voting locations throughout Lake County. You can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in any of these drop boxes beginning October 19, 2020, until November 1, 2020, from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

On Monday, November 2, 2020, five of these drop boxes will be available from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. And on Election Day, November 3, 2020, drop boxes for return of mail-in ballots will be available at two Election Day voting sites from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. For the exact locations of these drop boxes, go to https://www.lakecountyil.gov/DocumentCenter/View/36233/Drop-Box-Locations-all

Cook County also will have drop boxes at early voting sites, starting on October 19. These also will be accessible from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. A complete list of those locations is available at https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/SECURE%20DROPBOXES%20FOR%20COOK%20COUNTY%20MAIL%20BALLOTS.pdf

In addition, Cook County will make drop boxes available beginning October 9, 2020, in six locations—one in the Loop and five at Regional Courthouses in suburban Cook County. Go to https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/SECURE%20DROPBOXES%20FOR%20COOK%20COUNTY%20MAIL%20BALLOTS.pdf for a list of these locations.

A ballot placed in the U.S. mail and postmarked by Election Day will be valid as long as it is received within 14 days after Election Day. Lake County’s ballot takes a regular first-class stamp. If you live in Cook County, your ballot will come with a postage-paid return envelope.

If you choose, you can hand-deliver your mail-in ballot to your County Clerk’s office during normal business hours.

  1. What if I don’t understand how to fill out and return my VBM ballot?

Your VBM ballot will come to you with clear instructions, including illustrations. And closer to September 24, we will post our own illustrated instructions. If you still have questions, call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683), and one of our volunteers will walk you through it.

  1. How can I find out whether my ballot has been received?

If you live in Lake County, go to LakeVoterPower.info, and after filling in your personal information, click the button, “Track My Mail Ballot.” If you live in Cook County, go to https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/service/your-voter-information, click the button, “What Is My Mail Ballot Status?” and fill in the requested information

More questions? Call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline at 847-432-VOTE (8683).

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