How mail-in voting will look in Illinois

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President Donald Trump repeated his attacks on mail in voting Friday and said it could result in a “rigged election.”

But Democrats say in a pandemic mail in voting should be expanded and want to make sure the post office is fully funded.

So how will it look in Illinois?

Instead of lines, sanitizer and masks, voters in Illinois likely to see stamps and mail in the general election.

Matt Dietrich is with the Illinois State Board of Election.

“We knew by the time the primary rolled around that the general election was going to have a record number of vote by mail ballots,” he said.

Local clerks around the state are preparing for a surge in voting by mail.

In Chicago, election officials say so far there have been 250,000 vote by mail applications – that’s 10 weeks before the deadline. And Chicago is already two times the all-time record of 118,000 ahead of pandemic primary last March and the 116,000 requested in November of 1944 election during World War II.

The issue has become a political flash point with Trump.  He said, without evidence, that voting by mail could increase fraud. Trump wants to block an expansion of voting by mail by refusing to support funds for the postal service.

“One of the reasons the post office needs that much money is to have all these millions of ballots coming in from nowhere,” he said. “And nobody knows from where and where they’re going.”

But even as he attacks vote by mail, the president and First Lady requested absentee ballots in Florida Friday.

Democrats in congress say Trump is meddling in the election and they’re calling on him to fully fund the post office to ensure that all votes are counted.

A new election law in Illinois  – in effect for this election only – required clerks to send vote by mail applications to anyone who has voted in any of the last three statewide elections.

 “It required all 108 local election authorities to really push their voters and encourage them to use vote by mail,” Dietrich said.

He said Illinois residents can avoid the post office altogether by using secure drop boxes placed in clerks’ offices.

 “They can use secure drop boxes to give their voters an alternative to the postal service,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich said he wants to once and for all clear up the confusion about differences between absentee voting and voting by mail 

“It’s exactly the same in Illinois. We no longer use the term absentee, we only use the term vote by mail,” he said. “It’s as secure as going to a polling place and voting in person.”

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