Don’t want to vote at a polling place, but still want your voice heard in the Nov. 8 election? The deadline to apply for a vote by mail ballot is Thursday.
Registered votes in Madison County can apply online for a vote by mail ballot at madisonvotes.com. Voters in St. Clair County can apply for a ballot at http://www.countyclerk.co.st-clair.il.us/elections/Pages/absentee.aspx.
People do not need a reason to vote by mail, said Thomas Holbrook, St. Clair County clerk.
As long as the vote by mail ballot is postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 8, and is received within 14 days after the election, the ballot will be counted.
Both major political parties have been pushing the convenience of voting by mail, where people can digest the information on ballot questions and information about candidates without being at a polling place.
Democrats and Republicans have been sending out and handing out vote by mail applications.
“We received letters back from both parties urging their people to vote with return postage paid,” Holbrook said. “This is consistent with last year’s election and the primary.”
Holbrook said partisan precinct committeemen sending applications to voters is standard operating procedure.
“Each major party puts out a push to voters,” said Holbrook, a Democrat.
On the actual ballot, counties are required to pay postage both way, Holbrook said.
Mary Thurman, who is the secretary of the St. Clair County Republican Party, said her party is suggesting people vote by mail.
She added some precinct committeemen will deliver applications to voters or even hand them out in person, and return filled out applications to the clerk’s office.
Thurman did say there were reports of people having vote by mail applications filled out with their names on it, without them knowing.
“If you get a ballot in the mail, but you didn’t apply for it, call the clerk,” Thurman said.
Thurman added, once people receive their mail-in ballot, the only person who can handle the ballot is the voter, unless he or she signs an affidavit authorizing another person to turn it in.
Thurman said a precinct committeeman’s job is to help turnout the vote in his precinct, and educate voter about opportunities to vote, places to vote, and to provide information about candidates.
“You want your people to vote and you want to make it as easy as possible,” Thurman said.