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More Than Half A Million Illinoisans Have Already Voted Early

A sign in the Sangamon County building directing voters.
Mary Hansen
NPR Illinois

With three weeks to go until Election Day, more than 526,000 Illinois voters have already cast their ballots, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The majority of those voters weighed in via mail-in ballots, but nearly one-third of them voted in person at early polling locations. 

Early voting in both forms is breaking previous records.

Expanding mail-in voting was a top priority for the Democratically controlled General Assembly when lawmakers returned to Springfield for a truncated legislative session in May — just two months into the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the expanded vote-by-mail law, all Illinoisans who voted in the last few election cycles — approximately 5 million — were automatically sent an application to request a mail-in ballot. So far, more than 2 million have requested mail-in ballots. Requests for mail-in ballots will be accepted through Oct. 29, but election officials urge voters to apply by Oct. 26. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by the Nov. 3 Election Day.

As of Friday, more than 378,000 Illinois voters had returned their mail-in ballots, which is an 18 percent return rate. Voters can either send them through registered mail or bring them to drop box locations in many areas of the state. Illinois’ 108 local election authorities were given the option of setting up secure ballot drop boxes.

More than 147,000 Illinoisans have voted in person at early polling locations. As Nov. 3 nears, local election authorities will open more sites to early voters.

Voters can find drop box locations and their polling place at elections.il.gov.

Hannah covers state government and politics for Capitol News Illinois. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at WILL-AM/FM, Law360, Capitol Fax and The Daily Line before returning to NPR Illinois in 2020 and moving to CNI in 2023.
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