Any registered voter may Vote By Mail. Voters do not need a reason or excuse to Vote by Mail.
1. Apply to Vote By Mail
- Apply by the first week of February to be sure you have enough time to receive and return your ballot by Election Day.
- Ballots are expected to be mailed to voters in late January of 2019.
- The deadline to have a Vote By Mail application submitted online or at the offices of the Board of Elections is: 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21 for the Feb. 26, 2019 Election.
2. Vote and Return Your Ballot
Mark your mail ballot and return it to the Election Board for processing. NOTE: The Board supplies each Vote By Mail applicant with a postage-paid envelope to return the ballots.
NOTE: When marking your ballot, use a black or blue ballpoint pen. Make one solid line to connect the head of the arrow to the tail of the arrow next to each selection you make on the ballot. Do NOT use a thick-tip marker, which will bleed through the paper and cause the ballot to be unreadable by the ballot scanner.
Follow all enclosed instructions and make sure to vote in secret. A mail ballot must be postmarked (or in the absence of a postmark, certified by the voter) on or before Election Day Feb. 26 in order to be counted. In addition, the Board must receive the ballot by March 12, 2019 for the ballot to be counted.
The ballot may be returned:
- through the U.S. Postal Service OR
- by personal delivery to the Election Board, either by the voter or an immediate relative OR
- through a state-licensed motor carrier, such as FedEx, UPS or DHL.
Once a mail ballot has been returned to the Board, it cannot be retrieved or withdrawn. The same voter cannot vote in person in the polling place on Election Day unless he or she brings the mail ballot (or a portion of it) to the election judges OR completes an affidavit stating the mail ballot was never received by the voter or that it was received and lost.
Note: Any mail ballot that is postmarked Wed., Feb. 27 or later cannot be counted, by law. If a ballot is placed in a mail drop box Feb. 26 in the afternoon or evening, that envelope may be postmarked Feb. 27 and will not be eligible to be counted.
If you could not apply for a mail ballot by the Feb. 21 deadline, OR if you applied and did not receive your mail ballot, or if you lose the ballot, or if you cannot return the ballot with a postmark of Feb. 26 or earlier:
- Call 312-269-7967 on or before Thurs., Feb. 21 to alert us that you have not received your ballot; OR
- Use Early Voting through Mon., Feb. 25; OR
- Cancel your mail ballot and receive and cast an Election Day ballot at the polling place assigned to your precinct on Tues., Feb. 26. If the voter has the mail ballot, that ballot should be surrendered to the election judges. If the voter does not have the mail ballot, the voter may cast a provisional ballot after completing a provisional-ballot affidavit.
Military/Civilian Overseas Voters
Voting By Mail for Physical Disability
Certain voters may also qualify for special additional Vote By Mail privileges as explained below:
- Five-Year DVI Card
A voter with a permanent physical disability or a qualified nursing home resident may request a Disabled Voter’s Identification Card (DVI), which is valid for all elections during a five-year period. The voter is automatically sent a Vote By Mail application by the Board prior to each election. The voter must complete the DVI application and return it to the Board in order to receive a mail ballot.
- Residents of Licensed Nursing Homes Voters
Residents of Licensed Nursing Homes Voters residing in licensed nursing homes vote on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday preceding an election. Residents who are registered voters and who submit a Vote By Mail ballot application by the Thursday before the election are allowed to vote during the scheduled nursing home balloting. For complete information on nursing home voting procedures, contact the Board at 312-269-7865.
- Hospitalized Voters
A registered voter who is hospitalized not more than 14 days before an election may use this form to request that a Vote By Mail ballot be delivered in person to him or her in the hospital. An affidavit must be completed by the voter, his or her attending physician, and the relative (or registered voter of the same precinct) who delivers the Vote By Mail ballot to the hospital. Contact the Vote By Mail Department at 312-269-7967 for complete details on these procedures.
- Abuse of Vote By Mail
It is a felony in Illinois to vote more than once in the same election or to attempt to vote more than once in the same election.
- Falsifying Eligibility for Vote By Mail Ballots, Intimidation/Interference
Persons who knowingly make a false statement concerning their identity or their eligibility to Vote By Mail may be criminally prosecuted under Illinois law (10 ILCS 5/29-10), a Class 3 felony. Any person who intimidates or unduly influences another person to cast a Vote By Mail ballot in a manner inconsistent with the voter’s intent or who marks or tampers with a Vote By Mail ballot of another person shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.
Note: A physically incapacitated voter is entitled to assistance if that voter requests the assistance.
Voters are forbidden by law from using multiple voting systems (any combination of voting on Election Day, Early Voting and/or Vote By Mail) to change or undo a ballot for any reason, or to vote more than once. Attempting to vote more than once is a felony.