For the first time in a presidential primary election, all voters in Illinois may request a mail ballot to cast their vote, Clerk David Orr announced today.

“In the past, you needed an absentee excuse to vote by mail,” Orr said. “All voters are now eligible for a mail ballot, bringing one more convenient option for participating in the democratic process.”

Mail ballot applications are now being accepted for the March 20 primary. Evanston voters can download an application, call 312-603-0946 to request one, or pick one up at any of the Clerk’s six offices.


Update 2:16 p.m.: The download link provided by the County Clerk’s office wasn’t working earlier today. We’ve now updated the link, and, when last checked, it was working OK.


“I encourage every interested voter to request a mail ballot long before the March 15deadline to make sure there is enough time for delivery,” Orr said.

Applications are available in English, Spanish, Hindi and Chinese. Applications must be delivered to the Clerk’s office by mail or courier, or delivered in person by the voter. Applications cannot be emailed or faxed, except for military and overseas voters.

Upon receiving a mail ballot application, the Clerk’s office verifies the voter’s registration and signature, identifies their ballot style and then mails the ballot to the voter. After the voter makes their choices and fills out the certification form on the return envelope, the ballot must be mailed to the Clerk’s office with a postmark no later than March 19.

The law allowing for no-excuse mail voting was passed in 2009 and first implemented for the 2010 gubernatorial primary. Mail voting nearly tripled, to 5,627 for that primary from 2,081 in the 2006 gubernatorial primary before the “no excuse” mail ballot legislation was adopted.

Voters are reminded to keep their mail ballots secure. Do not let anyone else mark your ballot or coerce you into voting for any candidate. Also, only the voter, a close relative or an authorized messenger may handle or mail the voted ballot.

Early voting is another convenient method for casting your ballot. Early voting will be held from February 27-March 15 at 44 suburban Cook County locations, including the City Clerk’s office at the Evanston Civic Center. Voters must present valid photo identification to participate in early voting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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