Vote by Mail—Facts you should know
How long has the US Federal Government used voting by mail?
Use of absentee ballots goes back to the Civil War, so that soldiers could vote, even if they were engaged in battle. Every state has had absentee voting by mail available since then, although rules vary on eligibility, state-to-state.
What States currently have Universal Vote-by-Mail?
Universal Vote by Mail is already active in five states: Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Hawaii, and Utah.
What is the occurrence of voting fraud by mail?
The research on voter fraud by mail is extremely low (.0007%), or one case every 5 or 7 years. If there is an attempt to plagiarize a vote, it is a felony, and will be strictly enforced.
What is the status of vote by mail in Illinois?
SB 1863, the expanded vote by mail bill, passed the Illinois House and Senate and is waiting a signature from Governor Pritzker. Click here for more information on SB1863.
What controls are place for mailed in votes to ensure that the system is secure, and that nobody can steal your vote?
- Voter registration is done in one of three ways: in person, through the DMV, or online. For online registration: If there is a driver’s license or State ID on file, the computer can authenticate signatures about 50% of the time. Those signatures that are not “approved” by the computer software go to election judges (one from each party). Those voters whose signatures do not pass the election judges are contacted to verify, either by phone call, a text message, or email, depending on the election authority. If not authenticated, the voter must go to the election authority in person to verify his/her signature.
- If registering before the election, the voter’s signature is matched to the voter’s ID in the computer data base. Address and/or other identification information is automatically updated. When an absentee ballot is mailed to the registered voter, it has a barcoded tracking number printed on it and on the envelope. That barcoded tracking number is specific to the name and signature.
- Once the ballot is mailed in, the barcoded tracking number, name and signature must match up in order for the ballot to be accepted. The tracked voter will be notified, and given a number to call if the ballot was not issued by that voter.
- Once the ballot is counted, the election software will discard any other ballot that comes with the same tracking number or voter name. It does not allow for any voter to be counted twice.
What is the deadline for mail in voting?
Your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day (November 3) to count.
What if the voter does not have an address, or needs assistance due to language, or disabilities, to fill out the ballot?
Illinois has in-person early voting locations where voters can go for in-person assistance.
You can register on the day you vote.
Every registered voter has a right to vote, whether in-person or by mail.
For more information on vote by mail security, see https://www.voteathome.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Mail-Ballot-Security-Processes-FAQ.pdf