For the first time in a Presidential Primary Election, all voters in Illinois may request a mail ballot to cast their vote, Clerk David Orr announced Thursday.
“In the past, you needed an absentee excuse to vote by mail,” Orr said. “All voters are now eligible for a mail ballot, bringing one more convenient option for participating in the democratic process.”
Mail ballot applications are now being accepted for the March 20, 2012 Presidential Primary. Suburban Cook County voters can download an application at cookcountyclerk.com, request an application by calling (312) 603-0946, or pick one up at any of the Clerk's six offices.
“I encourage every interested voter to request a mail ballot long before the March 15 deadline to make sure there is enough time for delivery,” Orr said.
Applications are available in English, Spanish, Hindi and Chinese. Applications must be delivered to the Clerk’s office by mail or courier, or delivered in person by the voter. Applications cannot be emailed or faxed, except for military and overseas voters.
Upon receiving a mail ballot application, the Clerk’s office verifies the voter’s registration and signature, identifies their ballot style and then mails the ballot to the voter. After the voter makes their choices and fills out the certification form on the return envelope, the ballot must be mailed to the Clerk’s office with a postmark no later than March 19.
The law allowing for no-excuse mail voting was passed in 2009 and first implemented for the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election.
Suburban Cook County: Mail ballot voters by election
2010 Gubernatorial General 26,022
2010 Gubernatorial Primary 5,627
2008 Presidential General 26,922
2008 Presidential Primary 9,241
2006 Gubernatorial General 10,657
2006 Gubernatorial Primary 2,081
*No-excuse voting by mail available, per Illinois Public Act 96-0553. Data from 2006 and 2008 reflects absentee voting per election.
Voters are reminded to keep their mail ballots secure. Do not let anyone else mark your ballot or coerce you into voting for any candidate. Also, only the voter, a close relative or an authorized messenger may handle or mail the voted ballot.
Early Voting is another convenient method for casting your ballot. Early Voting will be held from February 27-March 15 at 44 suburban Cook County locations. Voters must present valid photo identification to participate in Early Voting.
Orr urges voters to use the online Voter Information Tool to find their registration status, precinct, polling location, voting districts and sample ballot. Due to redistricting and precinct reductions, voters may now reside in different legislative districts and they could have been assigned to a new Election Day precinct and/or polling location.
All voters will also receive this information by mailed notice later this month.