Frequently Asked Questions

voteathomemailitinseal

You have questions. We have answers.

Casting your vote by mail in the 2020 election may be new to you. We can help answer questions about how to complete your ballot, the security of your ballot, and how to update your voter information.


Voting By Mail in the 2020 General Election

Do I Have to Vote by Mail?

No. The state passed a law to encourage voters to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of that law, every registered voter who has not already applied by August 1st will be mailed a postcard application. Once you apply, ballots will begin being mailed on September 24th and then each business day after that until October 29th.

If you want to vote early at the Courthouse, you can still do that. If you want to vote at your polling place on Election Day, you can still do that. But the state law requires polling places to follow the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Why Did I Get a Postcard Application to Vote by Mail?

The state passed a law this summer requiring anyone who voted in the 2018 General Election, the 2019 Consolidated Election or the 2020 Primary Election be mailed an application to vote by mail. In the interest of fairness, the Macoupin County Clerk’s office is mailing every registered voter an application to vote by mail by August 1st. If you are thinking about voting by mail, please either apply online here or fill it out.

Why is Vote by Mail Being Encouraged This Election?

The state’s decision to encourage voters in the 2020 General Election to vote by mail is because of the many health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. While voters can still choose to vote early in person or vote at their polling place on Election Day, voting by mail keeps voters and poll workers healthy, and keeps voting accessible to active registered voters.

Also, just this year, other state’s primaries were directly affected by natural disasters such as a major tornado in Tennessee the morning of their primary or a blizzard in New Hampshire the day of their primary. And just eight years ago, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey right before the Presidential Election. While we all hope nothing happens on Election Day that would prevent anyone from being able to vote, we don’t know that for sure. Voting by mail allows for voters to vote at home, on their own time, and make sure their ballot is counted and their voice heard.


Receiving Your Voting Ballot

Do I Have to Apply to Vote by Mail?

Yes, you must complete an application to vote by mail.

You can complete the online application and your application will automatically be emailed to the Election Office.

Around August 1st, postcard applications will be mailed to all registered voters who have not already applied to vote by mail. You can complete that application and mail it back into the Election office.

You can also find more information and a request form that can be printed out at this link.

Once I Apply, When Will I Receive My Ballot?

The first day the Election Office can mail a ballot is Thursday, September 24th. Anyone who applied before that date will have their ballot mailed on the 24th. Anyone who applies after September 24th will have their ballot mailed by the next business day until October 29th, the last day to vote by mail.

What If I Haven't Received My Ballot Yet?

The first day the Election Office can mail a ballot is Thursday, September 24th and ballots will be mailed each business day after that. Please wait 10 days from either September 24th or the day you applied after that to call the Election office and a replacement ballot can be mailed to you.

For the first time this election, Macoupin County will also be offering a ballot tracker. Just like if you order something online, you’ll be able to track the ballot getting delivered to you as well as track it going back to the Election office to be counted. Check back closer to September 24th for more information on that.

Applications or Ballots Have Already Been Sent Out. Can I Still Register to Vote and Receive a Ballot in the Mail?
Yes. Any individual who registers to vote or updates their voter registration information by October 6th can apply for a mail ballot. Individuals who need to register to vote or change their registration starting October 7th will have to grace period vote at the Election office.

Casting Your Vote by Mail

As a Registered Voter, What Do I Have to do to Cast My Vote By Mail?
Once you apply to vote by mail, your ballot will be mailed to you at the address listed on your registration or the mailing address you write on your application. Inside the packet you receive is a ballot, a set of instructions, a secrecy envelope, a certification, and a return envelope. Once you mark your ballot, place and seal it in the secrecy envelope, fill out the certification card and place both and seal it in the pre-addressed postage-paid return envelope. Verify the return envelope has your correct name and address, and simply return your ballot via the mail no later than November 3, 2020.
How Much Postage is Required to Mail the Ballot Back?
None. All mail ballots will come with a postage prepaid ballot return envelope. Once you are ready to return your ballot, you can simply drop it in the mail. No stamp needed.
When does my ballot need to be returned?

Your ballot must be postmarked no later than November 3, 2020, in order to be counted. You may also drop off your ballot at the Election office no later than 7:00 p.m. on November 3, 2020. Ballots received after the Election will be counted for up to 14 days after. To ensure your ballot is counted, mail it back as soon as you can after voting.
What Should I Do If I Make a Mistake or Damage My Ballot?
If you make a mistake or damage your ballot, call the Election Office at (217) 854-3214 or email elections@macoupincountyil.gov and request a replacement ballot. One will be mailed to you if the request is made prior to October 29, 2020. Otherwise, ee can provide you with alternative options. Please note that your mail-in ballot has been cast the moment you deposit it in the mailbox or drop it off in person at the Election office. Once you cast a vote, you cannot receive a new ballot to re-vote, even if you’ve changed your mind about how you voted on your ballot.
Will My Vote Still Count If I Forget to Put My Ballot in the Secrecy Envelope?

Yes, your ballot will still be counted. The secrecy envelope is made available to help you ensure the privacy of your vote. Just make sure your certification card is signed.
Can Somebody Else Drop Off My Ballot for Me?
Yes, someone can deliver your ballot for you to the Election office. On the back of the return envelope is a certification you must sign naming the person who can deliver your ballot back for you and authorizing them to do so.
Will In-Person Early Voting Still Be Offered?
Yes. Early voting will still be available at the Election office at the Courthouse, which begins on Thursday, September 24th, and runs through Monday, November 2nd. However, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, state law requires us to follow the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidelines for safety during early voting. This may require masks to be worn, social distancing to be observed and only so many voters in the office at a time. Please check back closer to September 24th for more details.

If you vote by mail, you can do so at your convenience in your own home without worrying about any COVID-19 guidelines.

Will in-person voting on Election Day still be available?
Yes. All polling places will be open on Election Day, November 3rd, from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, all voters are encouraged to vote using their mail ballot or vote early rather than vote in person. In person voting will still require you to fill out a paper ballot or print a paper ballot from the touchscreen machines. Please remember state law requires us to follow the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidelines for safety during early voting. This may require masks to be worn, social distancing to be observed and only so many voters in the office at a time. Please check back closer to September 24th for more details.

If you vote by mail, you can do so at your convenience in your own home without worrying about any COVID-19 guidelines.


Vote-By-Mail Security and Benefits

Is voting by mail a new process?
No. In fact, voting by mail is a tried-and-true voting method. Our military has regularly relied on mail-in voting for more than 150 years and they have always been able to trust that their vote has counted.
Is voting by mail secure?
Yes! This process is secure, not because there aren’t any threats, but because we have secure processes and procedures that we consistently improve upon to help ensure your vote is secure.
Is it safe to vote by mail given the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence the coronavirus is spread through the mail.
Can somebody other than me vote using my ballot?
No. One of the initial security tests for mail-in voting is comparison of the signature on your ballot and the signature you have on file with your voter registration.
Can a voter “lose a ballot,” request a new one and vote twice?

No, ballot envelopes are barcoded to the individual voter. Upon return, only one ballot from any voter is accepted — the first one in. Others are rejected, and if criminal intent is suspected, the voter could be prosecuted. Ballots in an envelope with no barcode are rejected.