Illinois mail in voting ballot applications at record levels for 2020 presidential election

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Chicago prepares for record-setting voting by mail in 2020 presidential election
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More than 134,000 people have applied for vote by mail ballots so far, thousands more than in the primary, 2016 election and even during World War II.

Chicago Board of Elections vote by mail applications are in hot demand. With 100 days before the election application deadline, 134,000 voters have applied. That's thousands more than the recent Illinois primary, 2016 presidential election and during World War II.

"We are expecting doubling, tripling, even quintupling that record from 1944 and from earlier this year in March," said Jim Allen, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman.

A presidential election combined with COVID-19 is making voting by mail a very popular option. President Trump has claimed, and in social media posts he has called vote by mail ballots fraudulent, even though the president himself has voted by mail.

The Chicago Board of Elections said studies show vote by mail fraud in national elections is extremely rare.

"Fraud in vote by mail is easily detected and corrected, you have signature verification," Allen said.

For voters who don't trust the US Postal Service, the CBOE will have secure drop boxes at 50 early voting sites to drop your ballot in.

Whether it's through the postal service or in a secure drop box, the ballot must be signed, sealed and delivered to count.

If voters plan to vote in person early or day off, polling places will look quite different.

"We will spread out the equipment more, we will have Plexiglas shields for our poll workers where voters check in," Allen explained.

And for the first time in Illinois, Election Day will be a state holiday, allowing more access to schools and other public buildings and more room for voters to spread out.