In response to COVID-19, the State of Illinois passed SB1863 which was signed into law by Governor Pritzker. Under this law, applications to vote are to be mailed to every voter who voted in Johnson County from the General Election 2018, Consolidated Election 2019 and the Primary Election 2020. Vote by mail is not new to the State of Illinois; however, mailing to every voter is. This is a one time law, and this will not happen automatically for every election.
As a voter, you have several options. You may return the enclosed application and a ballot will be mailed to you after September 24th, which is the first day by law a ballot can be mailed.
If you are doing this option, vote by mail, please sign and date the application, fill in the address which the ballot should be mailed to, place your phone number on the application, so that you may be reached quickly if any questions arise regarding your application.
To vote by mail, you may also go to State Board of Elections website; elections.il.gov or the Illinois State Board of Elections and complete that application to vote. Once an application is received by the state a ballot will be mailed to you after September 24th.
Early Voting in the Johnson County Election Authority office or at an Early Voting Site (date & location to be announced) is also an option. If voting early, the election authority office will be open September 24th, 8 to Noon & 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. They will also be open the Saturday before the Election 8:00 a.m. – noon. If the office feels the need to have extended hours that will be posted on Facebook or in the local newspapers.
If you prefer, you may go to go to your polling place on Election Day November 3rd, 2020. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m. The polling places will be open the same as all other Elections held in the past.
County Clerk/Election Authority Harper-Whitehead stated that a grant has been obtained and will be given to Johnson County to cover the expenses of the mailing for all voters that voted in 2018, 2019 and 2020 but the other voters that did not qualify under these guidelines will still be sent an application at the expense of the county.
“We felt that it would be easier for all voters to receive the applications instead of just part of the county. The biggest part of the county fall under the grant guidelines that are set by the State Board of Elections,” said Harper-Whitehead, “Just because they get an application does not mean they have to vote by mail and they are welcome to vote the way they have always voted on Election Day. But my office must follow these guidelines and let the voter decide which is best for them.” If anyone has any questions or wants to check on the application to vote please call the Election Office and ask for Robin or Pam at 618-658-3611.
Harper-Whitehead is also applying for additional grants to help with the expenses of the new law. The Illinois State Board of Elections notified all Election Authorities including Johnson County that all counties throughout Illinois will receive hand sanitizer through the Anheuser-Busch Brewery-one of a number of companies that have converted their plants so that they can make hand sanitizer since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Each of the county’s 16 precincts will receive ounce bottles of hand sanitizer, along with one gallon pump bottles. Harper-Whitehead stated, “This is awesome for our county and should be great for our voters and election judges. We had been able to purchase hand sanitizer by joining efforts with Pope County but not enough to secure for all voters, so this is a welcome gift.”