What to expect as early voting begins in Illinois on Thursday

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — In just over a month, the nation will go to the polls. But with COVID-19 concerns, many are taking the option to vote early or by mail.

In Illinois, the window to vote early starts Thursday. Election officials tell us what you can expect.

“We’re very excited because this kind of kicks off the election season,” said Winnebago County Clerk Lori Gummow.

Illinois voters will be able to cast their ballots starting this Thursday. Winnebago County Clerk Lori Gummow is anticipating a big crowd on the first day of early voting.

“We’re getting everything prepared. We’re preparing and practicing with our machines and our election equipment and we have our judges training in anticipation of Thursday’s turnout,” said Gummow.

Starting Thursday, Rockford voters can go to the Board of Elections Office located at 301 S. 6th Street for early voting. The Winnebago County Administration at 404 Elm Street will serve as the early voting location for voters who live outside of city limits.

“We’re encouraging everyone to vote in this election; it’s going to be a historical year,” Gummow added.

Thursday also marks the first day election officials can send ballots to people who applied to vote by mail. The Rockford Board of Elections say they received more than 17,00 vote-by-mail applications.

Executive Director Stacey Bixby says they’re working hard to process all of them and says not to worry if your ballot doesn’t arrive immediately.

“If you requested a ballot sometime over the last week, your ballot may not be in the first mailing, because we have these 17,000 that came out right away,” Bixby said. “If you don’t have it by the 25th or 26th, don’t panic.”

Drop boxes are set up outside both polling locations if you don’t want to mail in your ballot. Election officials stress that if you applied to vote by mail and change your mind and choose to vote in-person, you need to bring that ballot with you to the polling place in order to vote.

“So if you’ve gone to the effort of applying for a ballot to be received at home, make sure that you vote-by-mail as well.”

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