2020 Illinois vote questions answered, on mailing ballots, early voting, Election Day rules and more

I-Team answers our viewers' most-asked questions about voting in the 2020 election

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Mailing ballots, early voting, Election Day rules: 2020 Illinois voting questions answered
With the unusual circumstances around the 2020 election, the I-Team answers the top 5 viewer questions about how to vote in Illinois.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- New data compiled by the I-Team shows that as of Thursday evening, more than 2 million registered voters in Illinois have requested vote-by-mail ballots. And tens of thousands have already filled them out, voted and sent in the ballots.

Still, with Election Day is less than five weeks away and early voting is in full swing, the questions from confused and concerned voters are still pouring in.

RELATED: How to vote by mail in Illinois

Here are the I-Team's top five questions and answers about this year's voting process.

Q: Can I vote early in person or by mail and still go to the polls on Election Day if I change my mind?

A: No. Once you cast your ballot it's cast, whether early voting or by mail. Voting twice-or more-is a felony.

Q: If I mail in my ballot on Election Day will it still be counted?

A: The answer is yes. Ballots postmarked on Tuesday November 3rd will be counted, along with any cleared provisional ballots and overseas military ballots.

Q: Is my vote more secure if I vote in-person on Election Day?

A: No. Local and state election officials are emphatic that all methods are similarly air tight-and they are confident in the sanctity of the process.

Q: If I don't put a stamp on my vote-by-mail ballot, will it still be counted?

A: Yes. Ballots returned by U.S. mail are supposed to have adequate postage...about a dollar-40...however, a new law in Illinois requires election authorities to accept and count all mail-in ballots even if they arrive without postage.

Q: Which candidate for president is currently leading in Illinois' mail-in vote count?

A: That is a trick question. Votes ARE NOT counted before election night regardless of when they are received. All votes here are tabulated once the polls close November 3rd.

Hundreds line up on first day of early voting at Chicago Loop super site

Chicago's mail-in ballots come with postage so that is one less thing to worry about.

Election experts and voting officials agree we are all likely to have questions on election night, most notably who won the presidential race. Mail-in votes take longer to process and verify at a time when staffing and budgets are challenged, and officials are warning that winners may not be known for days or even weeks in tight races.

North Central College political science professor Stephen Caliendo said it can be bewildering, but he hopes concerns about the process do not translate into voter apathy.

"Folks might be so concerned or confused, they just choose not to participate that's a problem as a political scientist I want, I want to have maximum suffrage, but I'm really worried about what happens afterward. I'm worried about the messages that are going to come from candidates or parties, particularly the president because he's already signaled that he has legal teams in place that he expects there to be problems. And I'm worried about that," said Caliendo.