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Still Have A Mail-In Ballot In Illinois? Here Are Your Options For Returning It

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A sign in the Sangamon County building directing voters.

SPRINGFIELD — Hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters have received a ballot in the mail but not yet returned it.

Illinois State Board of Election spokesperson Matt Dietrich said if any of those voters have changed their minds and now want to vote in person, they can.

“That’s not a problem,” Dietrich said. “Just take your ballot with you to an early voting location or on Election Day to your polling place and you can trade it for an in-person ballot and you can vote in person.”

Voters can also mark their ballots and hand them in at their local election office – usually the county clerk’s office – or if they live in a county whose election authority set up secure ballot drop boxes, they can return them there by the time polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Drop box locations are listed on the state election board’s website.

Returning ballots by mail is also still an option. Unlike some other states, voters in Illinois have until Election Day to get their ballot in the mail. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday and arriving within two weeks will still be counted. However, to be absolutely sure a ballot arrives in time, Dietrich suggests returning it in person on or before Election Day.

If a voter requested a mailed ballot, but hasn’t received it yet, Dietrich said they can go to their polling place on Election Day and request a ballot. They’ll have to sign an affidavit affirming they haven’t completed and returned their mailed ballot as well.

If the voter then receives their mail-in ballot after they’ve voted in-person, Deitrich warned voters against filling it out and returning it.

“Number one, it won’t count because it’s already been voided,” he said. “But number two, that is vote fraud and it’s a Class 3 felony.”

Mary Hansen is a reporter for NPR Illinois in Springfield.


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