Illinois counties with 10% mail-in ballots rejected in 2016 and 2018 US elections

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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Thousands of people in Chicago and Illinois lined up at the polls on the first day of early voting. While many can avoid the long wait by voting by mail, data shows some counties in Illinois have had a high ballot rejection rate in the last two elections.

According to data gathered by ABC Owned Television Stations, mail-in ballot rejections have been minimal in the last two election cycles but growing; from less than 1% in 2016 to 1.4% in 2018. While small in percentage, that still translates to more than 425,000 voters who lost their voice at the ballot box in the last election.

Data from the 2016 presidential election showed Stephenson County as the only county in the state with a high rejection rate of 11.6%; 78 of the 749 mail-in ballots were rejected.

By 2018, the state had four counties with a high rejection rate of 10% or more:

  • Franklin County saw a 27.7% when 39 of its 141 were rejected.
  • Kendall County had a 15% rejection rate when 367 of 2,445 were rejected.
  • Scott County had 8 out of 60 mail-in ballots rejected, making its rate 13.3%
  • Stephenson County saw a rise in its rejection rate in 2018 when 92 out 715 mail-in ballots were rejected. Its rate went from 11.6% to 12.9% in those two years

During both elections, Cook County had a rejection rate of less than 5% with .7% of mail-in ballots being rejected in 2016. By the 2018 election, that rate went up to 1.7%. Will County had a 0.7% mail-in ballot rejection.

As of Thursday, the Chicago Board of Elections reported more than 450,000 vote-by-mail applications. As of 9 a.m. that same day more than 8,000 had been returned.

The highest number of vote-by-mail ballots previously requested was during World War II, with 116,117 applications.

The general election will be held on November 3, 2020. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

By-mail voter registration in Illinois ends on October 6. Online voter registration ends on October 18.

Grace period voter registration in Illinois runs from October 7 through Election Day. All grace period voter registration must be done in person.

Follow these tips to save time when you head to the polls on Election Day.

For a closer look at the states and counties with a high-rate of mail-in ballot rejection take a look at the map below.


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CORRECTION: The article initally reported the rejection rate in Will County was 68.8% in 2018. The correct number is 0.7%,