Voting In Illinois: Everything You Need To Know

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ILLINOIS — Nothing about 2020 has been typical, and Tuesday's election looks like it won't be either. And we may not know who the next president will be on Election Day.

According to the Associated Press, we may not know whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden won on election night, "and that's OK," despite the president's insistence that slower-than-usual results are a sign of trouble.

The biggest factor that could delay election results is the fact that due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans chose to vote by mail this time around. In general, "those mail ballots take longer to count," according to the Associated Press.

As of Sunday, more than 1.69 million mail-in ballots had been received from Illinois voters, and 1.7 million Illinois residents had voted early in person.

More than 80 percent of American voters had the opportunity to vote by mail in the Nov. 3 election, by far the most in U.S. history. Absentee voting is allowed for everyone in 34 states, and only six states require an "excuse" other than fear of the coronavirus to vote by mail — Illinois isn't one of them.

Whether you plan to vote by mail or in person, here's everything you need to know about casting your ballot in Illinois.

The basics

  • Election date: Nov. 3

  • Registration deadline(s): Nov. 3 (in person); Oct. 18 (online)

  • Online registration: Yes (deadline passed)

  • Same-day registration: Yes

  • Early voting started: Sept. 24 (ends Nov. 2)

  • Absentee/mail voting deadline(s): Nov. 3 (postmarked); Nov. 17 (received)

Voter registration

Not sure if you're already registered to vote? You can find out here.

The deadline to register to vote online is Sunday, Oct 18 (the postmark deadline to register by mail was Oct. 6).

Voter Registration 2020 In Illinois: 5 Things To Know

If you're voting by mail

  • Voting by mail is available to all Illinois voters prior to Election Day. Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot through the mail or in person.

  • Everyone who has voted in any election since November 2018, and who has registered to vote or has updated their voter registration since March 18, 2018, was sent an application to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

  • The first day to file an application to vote by mail was June 16. The last day was Oct. 29.

  • Voters can file their application to vote by mail online by sending it via mail to their county clerk's office or by dropping it off in person at the county clerk's office.


What to do with your mail-in ballot

  • Ballots will come with a return envelope and can be returned by mail.

  • Those who have concerns about their ballots being shipped via the U.S. Postal Service can also drop off completed ballots at drop boxes in their voting jurisdiction. (Find a list below)

  • Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, or they will not be counted. If a ballot envelope is placed in a mail drop box on or near Election Day, that envelope may be postmarked late and will not be eligible to be counted.

Where are the mail-in ballot drop boxes?

Voting in person

  • If you've voted in Illinois before, you don't need to provide ID to vote

  • You may need an ID if:

    • An election judge challenges your right to vote

    • You registered to vote by mail and did not provide ID

    • If you are also registering to vote or changing your registration address on the day that you vote

  • Poll times: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • If you are already in line to vote when the polls close, you still have the right to cast your ballot

  • Where to vote: Find your polling place here (you can also find this and a sample ballot on your county clerk's website)

  • Staying safe: Aside from wearing a mask and staying 6 feet away from other voters, you can also minimize risk by voting early to avoid long lines to vote.

You Can Vote Safely In Person Despite Coronavirus. Here's How.

What and who are on the ballot?

  • Fair tax amendment: This "yes or no" ballot initiative will ask voters to approve a change to the state constitution that will allow lawmakers to set a graduated income tax rather than the flat tax that currently exits.

  • Presidential race: While the ballot contains candidates from the Green party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, American Solidarity party and Libertarian party, it comes down to President Donald Trump/Vice President Mike Pence vs. Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden/U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Democrat Dick Durban faces off against Republican Mark C. Curran Jr., Willie Wilson (of the Willie Wilson Party), Green party candidate David F. Black and Libertarian Danny Malouf.

  • Depending on where you live, you will also likely see Congressional races, state House and Senate races and countywide races.

Related: Illinois Voters Asked To Decide 'Fair Tax': What You Need To Know

This article originally appeared on the Across Illinois Patch

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