Local vote by mail applicants expected to increase for November election

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Votes cast by mail are expected to set a new record this November as the nation navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans will vote for president in just a few months. Local election officials said they’re following state guidelines to provide alternatives to in-person voting.

Amid COVID-19, the pandemic has forced election officials to explore ways to keep the public safe at the polls and keep mail-in ballots secure.

“There’re multiple checks and balances on this system,” said John Ackerman the clerk in Tazewell County. “Here in Illinois, people should feel secured and makes the process safe.”

Governor Pritzker signed legislation requiring counties to send applications to voters who cast ballots in the 2018 general election, the 2019 election cycle, or the 2020 primary. Peoria County’s election officials will send applications to 68,000 voters. Tazewell County also sending those applications.

“Last week the Tazewell County board decided to rather than send voting information to all voters, to do just what the law requires, which is a select group,” said Ackerman. “So only 55,000 of our 92,000 registered voters will be receiving a mailing.”

“That’s a huge increase in applications that we will be mailing out,” said Elizabeth Cannon, the assistant executive director with the Peoria County Election Commission. “We’re anticipating getting at least 50,000 of those back so our numbers are going to drastically going to go up when it comes to vote by mail.”

Gannon reassuring voters that if vote by mail is your choice security measures will be in place.

“We’re making sure that [ballots] are for this election,” said Gannon. “We’re making sure it’s from the correct voter and that the signature matches.”

Voter applications will be sent out on August 1. Legally, November ballots will not hit mailboxes until September 24.

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