mail-in voting

Around half the votes cast in the 2020 election are expected to be mail-in ballots.

Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are driving more people to vote early, absentee, or via the postal service. Professor Nate Persily with the Stanford Law School said this level will vary by state, since some have more experience with this system.

“We have never had to transform the American electoral infrastructure in such a significant way in such a short period of time," he said. 

DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder

The DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder recently fielded questions about the general election at a virtual town hall. 

Dozens of people called in to the online event, which was jointly hosted by the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County and Northern Illinois University’s All In Democracy Challenge. Moderators directed audience questions to DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson.

Rockford Board of Elections

The Rockford Board of Elections is setting up a secure drop box for mail-in ballots. 

The box will be installed near the corner of 6th Street and 2nd Avenue and available for people to drop off mail-in ballots starting October 1st. Board Executive Director Stacey Bixby said it’s being done in response to the pandemic. She said the Board has received more than 13,000 vote-by-mail applications.

Sarah Jesmer

Some Illinois counties plan to install mail-in drop boxes before the election. Others are still weighing their options. 

DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson said he contacted city and village clerks about installing the boxes, but he said only Sandwich’s official seemed in favor of the idea.

“None of them seemed to think they had the resources or capability," he said. "We weren’t really requiring or looking at them to do anything other than install a box in their office at the village hall or city hall.”

City of Oregon, Illinois

The Ogle County Courthouse in Oregon will have a secure ballot box nearby for residents voting by mail.

County Clerk and Recorder Laura Cook explained.

“The Ogle County voter can come and drop it off instead of going through the Postal Service, " she said, "and they don’t have to come into the courthouse. Because there are a lot of older voters out there that have health concerns.” 

Ballots placed in the drop box will be collected twice daily by election staff. Ballots sent through the mail must be postmarked no later than election day to be accepted.


Local officials across Illinois are preparing for the 2020 election amid concerns over how the coronavirus may affect the logistics of the election. Several voting locations used during the March 17 primaries have been linked to coronavirus cases. An election judge in Chicago died from complications due to coronavirus a few weeks after the primary.