Rockford election officials encourage mail-in voting option as pandemic safety alternative

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Local election officials are expecting to see a large number of voters voting by mail this year as they try to avoid going to a polling place as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Stacey Bixby, the executive director of the Rockford Board of Elections, says she’s encouraging anyone who is concerned about contracting COVID-19 to consider filling out an application to vote by mail.

“This is just helping people vote from home, staying safe, and not having to go into the polling place on Election Day,” Bixby said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t want to put their health at risk. And we have no idea what’s going to be going on in October and November.”

As part of legislation passed earlier this year by the State of Illinois, anyone who has voted since 2018 will be sent a Vote by Mail application.

To eliminate voter fraud, a bipartisan panel, consisting of three election judges, will work together to verify signatures on mail-in ballots.

Carol Davies, the co-chair of Voter Services for the League of Women Voters, said, “Just as when you show up in person, you have to sign your card, and they verify your name and your address, and you can vote. This time, you’ve already voted, but they’re going to do that verification. So, there are things in place already.”

Davies hopes people will take advantage of their right to vote. She believes mail-in voting is a great option for people who may not feel safe by physically going to their polling place.

“Voting is such an important right, and everybody needs to vote, who is qualified to vote. So, with that in mind, you pick the way that is most convenient and most safe for you,” she said.

Mail-in applications must be received by October 29th.

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