With coronavirus a concern to many residents as the 2020 general election approaches, Vermilion County Clerk, Cathy Jenkins, wants to inform voters that vote by mail application postcards will be coming to your mailbox beginning July 31.

The Illinois General Assembly this year passed an election bill that set provisions to increase voting by mail throughout the state.

“Voting by mail is a convenient option for voters who wish to minimize contact between other voters and poll workers but still want their voice to be heard. Vote by mail is nothing new in Vermilion County. It has always been offered, and has been routinely utilized by hundreds of voters in every election,” stated Chief Deputy County Clerk, Lindsay Light.

Among the special vote by mail provisions for the 2020 general election are:

- All voters who voted in either the March 2020 primary, April 2019 consolidated or November 2018 general election will receive by mail an application for a vote by mail ballot

- Those who registered to vote or updated their registration between March 18th and July 31st will be mailed an application for a vote by mail ballot

- The state’s online voter registration site now allows users to request a mail ballot when they register

- Voters can go to www.vercounty.org or can email ccelections@vercounty.org to request a ballot electronically

Ballots will be mailed to applicants beginning September 24th, which is also the first day of in-person early voting. The deadline for applying for a mail ballot is 4:30pm on October 29th. After October 29th, voters can still receive a mail ballot by applying in-person at the Vermilion County Clerk’s Office, 201 N. Vermilion St., Danville, IL 61832. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 3rd to be accepted, and properly postmarked ballots will be accepted through November 17th.

The new law also establishes protocols to ensure proper verification of ballots before they are accepted and to inform voters in a timely manner if their ballot is rejected. This begins with a review of the voter’s signature by a panel of three election judges within two days of receipt of the ballot. A ballot may be rejected for an invalid signature only by unanimous decision of the judges.

The ballot may be rejected if two of the three judges agree that: the ballot envelope was delivered opened, the certification envelope contains no signature, the voter has already cast a ballot, the voter voted in person on Election Day, and the voter is not a duly registered voter.

If a ballot is rejected based on a signature or lack of signature or because the ballot envelope was delivered opened, we will notify the voter within two days of receipt prior to Election Day or within one day if the rejection occurs after Election Day. The new law contains provisions for the voter to address these problems.

We have been made aware there are several various vote by mail applications being delivered to voters from different locations and/or entities. We will only honor the FIRST application we receive and all others will be denied. If you have already submitted a vote by mail application to our office, you are not eligible to send in this postcard application.

For those voters who do not wish you utilize the vote by mail postcard you receive, please refer to the in-person voting information on the card. We will still be open for early voting beginning September 24th at 8:00am in our office at 201 N. Vermilion St. in Danville. You can find additional early voting hours on our website, www.vercounty.org, or on the postcard you receive in the mail. We will also still have normal polling locations on Election Day for those to choose to wait until November 3rd to cast their vote.

“We are going to accommodate the voter by any means possible to ensure everyone is guaranteed their vote in the general election, whether that means they come see us in person or they utilize the vote by mail postcard. No matter which way the voter chooses to vote, our office is working diligently to protect the integrity of the voting process, as always,” stated Light.

For questions about voting in the general election, please call Lindsay Light, Chief Deputy Clerk or our office staff at 217/554-1900 or email ccelections@vercounty.org.

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