Three months early: Vote by mail for November election begins in Illinois already

All registered Illinois voters are eligible to vote by mail due to a new state law allowing voters to tell their election authority they permanently want to receive mail-in ballots.

Updated: August 17, 2022 - 12:09am

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Vote-by-mail applications for the Nov. 8 general election opened Wednesday, along with the new ability to permanently request mail-in ballots.

All registered Illinois voters are eligible to vote by mail due to a new state law allowing voters to tell their election authority they permanently want to receive mail-in ballots.

Illinoisans looking to vote by mail can apply online.

Voters can use the Illinois State Board of Elections website and then choose their local election jurisdiction from the menu under "select a jurisdiction." If the local election authority has an online process, follow the directions there.

Bryce Hill, an economic researcher with the Illinois Policy Institute, said a higher number of voters turnout when there is a mail-in option.

"We actually see an increase of about two percent in voter turnout," Hill said. "For Illinois, that would mean an extra 215,000 votes on an annual basis."

Hill said the more voters, the better for Illinois.

"It allows more votes for down-ballot measures that determine things like property taxes, and a whole variety of things where increased voter participation is a good thing and voter awareness and education is a good thing."

Voters can also request a vote-by-mail application from their local election authority, print it out from the local election authority's website, then return the application by mail. Applications sent by mail must be received by Nov. 3.

Voters who opt-in to mail in voting can still go to a ballot box if they choose not to vote by mail. The general election will be held on Nov. 8.