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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

You Can Still Vote Early In Person, Even If You Originally Requested A Vote-By-Mail Ballot

Peter Medlin
Early voting booth in DeKalb County for the Spring 2020 primary elections.

With weeks until election day, Illinois is breaking early voting records. Residents are voting in person, by mail and delivering ballots to drop boxes.

Americans are crafting voting plans on how they want to cast their ballot during a pandemic.

Alex Boutros is the community organizing manager at Chicago Votes. They’re reminding voters that even if you requested a vote-by-mail ballot, you can still change your mind and vote in person.

“You're supposed to bring in the vote-by-mail ballot to give it to the election judge for them to give you the card to vote early," she said.

That’s called “surrendering” your mail-in ballot so you can’t vote twice. Boutros says she thinks a lot of voters might be unaware of that process. If you do vote by mail, make sure to sign the back of the envelope so it doesn’t get returned.

Chicago Votes focuses on getting younger voters engaged. Boutros says they’re putting together voting guides on local ballot items like judges, water reclamation commissioners and the graduated income tax plan.

“There's a lot of folks who immediately talk about the presidential election and if that’s either bringing them to go vote or stopping them from voting and so just reiterating that our vote carries a lot more power on the local level,” she said.

The non-profit has also been sharing information about the Chicago Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights, which runs an election protection hotline.

If people feel intimidated at the polls or think their rights are being violated, they can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to reach pro bono attorneys or election experts who can talk them through their situation.