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More Than Half A Million Illinoisans Have Already Voted Early

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SPRINGFIELD — With three weeks to go until Election Day, more than 526,000 Illinois voters have already cast their ballots, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The majority of those voters weighed in via mail-in ballots, but nearly one-third of them voted in person at early polling locations. 

Early voting in both forms is breaking previous records.

Expanding mail-in voting was a top priority for the Democratically controlled General Assembly when lawmakers returned to Springfield for a truncated legislative session in May — just two months into the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the expanded vote-by-mail law, all Illinoisans who voted in the last few election cycles — approximately 5 million — were automatically sent an application to request a mail-in ballot. So far, more than 2 million have requested mail-in ballots. Requests for mail-in ballots will be accepted through Oct. 29, but election officials urge voters to apply by Oct. 26. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by the Nov. 3 Election Day.

As of Friday, more than 378,000 Illinois voters had returned their mail-in ballots, which is an 18 percent return rate. Voters can either send them through registered mail or bring them to drop box locations in many areas of the state. Illinois’ 108 local election authorities were given the option of setting up secure ballot drop boxes.

More than 147,000 Illinoisans have voted in person at early polling locations. As Nov. 3 nears, local election authorities will open more sites to early voters.

Voters can find drop box locations and their polling place at elections.il.gov.

Hannah Meisel is a statehouse reporter for NPR Illinois in Springfield.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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Illinois Newsroom gets stories from public radio stations from across the state, including WBEZ-Chicago, WCBU-Peoria, WGLT-Normal, WVIK-Rock Island, WIUM-Macomb, WNIJ-DeKalb, WSIU-Carbondale, WUIS-Springfield, and St. Louis Public Radio.

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