Vote by Mail: Facts vs. Myths

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Myth 1
I have to vote by mail this November.
Fact 1
All registered voters in Macoupin County will be mailed an application to have a ballot mailed to them. But if they want to vote early at the Courthouse or on Election Day at their polling place, they can.
Myth 2
There are less safeguards in place for voting by mail compared to voting in person.
Fact 2
There are multiple safeguards in place no matter which voting method is used. Mail ballots cannot just be picked up and voted by anyone. All mail ballots must have a signed certification. This signature is used to confirm that it was actually the voter and not another person who returned the mail ballot. Signature comparison is also used for verification for in-person voting, meaning the same standard is used for both voting by mail and in-person voting.
Myth 3
If an application is sent to a deceased individual or a voter who no longer resides at that address, the mail ballot can be fraudulently voted. 

 

Fact 3
Only an application is being mailed, not a ballot. But if a ballot did get mailed to someone who is deceased or no longer lives at that address, each mail ballot must be returned in an authorized ballot return envelope and must have a certification signed by the voter. This signature is compared to the signature on file at the election office for the voter by judges from both parties. If the signature does not match, the ballot is rejected.
Myth 4
If someone can’t make it to the polling place, they can vote absentee. We don’t need vote by mail.
Fact 4
In Illinois, vote by mail is absentee voting. It’s the exact same procedure, just called something different. Illinois stopped requiring an excuse to vote by mail back in 2006. If you like the idea of absentee voting, you like vote by mail.
Myth 5
Ballots will get lost in the mail and I will never know if my vote got counted.
Fact 5
In Macoupin, we are working on software that will let a voter look online to track their ballot being delivered to them and then track it coming back to the Election office, just like a package they ordered online. They will even be able to sign up for email or text notifications about their ballot. And voters have been able to see if their mail ballot counted online since 2012.
Myth 6
If I vote by mail, it will cost me since I will have to pay for postage.
Fact 6
In the 10 years I have been County Clerk, no voter in Macoupin has ever paid postage to vote by mail. We will have pre-paid postage on application as well as the ballot envelopes. It won’t cost to vote by mail this November.
Myth 7
Using mail ballots make it easy for a person to vote more than once in the same election.
Fact 7
Once a voter applies to vote by mail, there is a barcode printed on their envelope label. When their envelope is returned, we scan it into the system. If a voter tried mailing a second ballot, the system wouldn’t accept it since their vote is already in. If a voter needs a second ballot mailed to them, the first barcode is voided in the system and a new one issued to them.
Myth 8
Mail ballots are not secret. They will know how I voted.
Fact 8
Mail ballots come with a secrecy envelope. Voters seal just their ballots in them and there is no identifying information on them. When the judges from both parties accept a ballot, they put the secrecy envelope in a stack and another judge is the one who opens them and runs the ballot through the machine, not knowing whose secrecy envelope is whose.
Myth 9
If I apply and get mailed a ballot, I won’t be able to vote at my polling place.
Fact 9
If a ballot is mailed to a voter and they either choose to not return it or see it hasn’t gotten back to the Election office, they can still vote at their polling place. They either need to bring their unused mail ballot with them to give to the judges or they can vote provisionally, where their ballot is sealed in an envelope so we can check their mail ballot wasn’t already counted.
Myth 10
Mail ballots and early votes are only counted in a close election.
Fact 10
Every valid ballot cast in Montgomery will be counted, no matter outcomes. Mail ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day and returned within 14 days of the election. But any mail ballot that should be counted, will be counted before results are finalized.
Myth 11
If my ballot is rejected after I mail it in, my vote will never count. 
Fact 11
If your ballot is rejected by the election judges, we will send you a notification by mail. You will have the opportunity to show why your ballot should be counted. If valid, your vote will be counted.
Myth 12
Once I mail my ballot, someone could tamper with it before it got delivered.

Fact 12
Any ballot delivered to the Election office that is open or has been opened and resealed is rejected by the Election judges. If rejected, you’d have a chance to review the ballot and tell us if it’s yours before it was counted.