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dir="ltr">The Illinois State Board of Elections couldn’t immediately say how many out-of-state addresses were part of the 5.4 million reminders sent out to request an Illinois ballot to mail in for the November election, but elections authorities are doing their diligence to keep the vote secure.
Early voting begins in Illinois Thursday. That’s also when local elections authorities will be sending out mail-in ballots to voters who’ve requested them.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office sent out reminders to voters that hadn’t yet requested mail-in ballots.
“Your local election authority had indicated that you have not yet applied for a ballot,” the letter said. “However, you still have time to submit an application.”
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The deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Illinois for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 29.
But some out-of-state voters took to social media to say they received the reminder to request a ballot to vote in Illinois. Asked why out-of-state voters were getting such requests, the Secretary of State’s office deferred further comment.
“We used the list of names provided by the Illinois State Board of Elections,” White’s office said. Any further questions about the list should be directed to the Board of Elections."
“If someone had previously requested a [vote by mail] ballot at an out-of-state address, or if the election authority for some other reason has that address on file, the election authority was required under the new law to send an application there,” said Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Elections.
“We compiled that list based on lists provided to us by the local election authorities,” Dietrich said. “Those lists were due to us by Sept. 2, but we started requesting them Aug. 26. So theoretically anyone who returned their VBM application before Sept. 2 (and in some cases as early as Aug. 26) would have received the SOS letter.”
Dietrich couldn’t immediately say how many of the 5.4 million letters were to out-of-state addresses.
DuPage County Deputy Clerk Adam Johnson explained how some out-of-state residents may have received a reminder to request an Illinois ballot to mail in.
“If you moved and never notified us and never attempted to register anywhere else, then you might stay on the rolls for several years,” Johnson said. “There are boxes that have to be checked before you remove someone from voter rolls because obviously that’s a pretty significant step, so making sure that we got the proper notification.”
Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said some reminders may be to so-called “snowbirds” who’ve requested absentee ballots for out-of-state addresses in the past, but the updated law breeds confusion.
“I wish this wasn’t happening,” Gray told WMAY radio. “It’s kind of frustrating all of this additional other measures on top which I think are well intentioned but they’re really just confusing people more and it’s eroding the confidence in the system.”
“Voters are smart enough to understand what’s best for them and how they want to cast ballots,” Gray said. “We don’t need to keep hounding them and reminding them of the opportunity. We all know we can vote by mail if we feel that’s best for us.”
In-person voting is still an option day or the Nov. 3 election, or early at a local election authority.
Both offices said local elections officials should continue the necessary diligence to clear voter rolls of ineligible voters.