WEST TOWN — Wicker Park resident Madeline Nygaard took her mail-in ballot to the 1st Ward early voting site on Oct. 17. More than two weeks later, and with Election Day looming, she still hasn’t received confirmation her ballot was processed.
The same thing happened to Nygaard’s boyfriend and several 1st Ward neighbors who also say they voted by mail Oct. 17.
After calling the Chicago Board of Elections, Nygaard learned there were problems with the 1st Ward’s West Town dropbox on Oct. 17. An elections staffer said the ballots were sent to the wrong location and will eventually be processed, but to be on the safe side, the staffer advised Nygaard and others to vote in person this week.
“Mine has not been processed … so we will be voting in person tomorrow,” Nygaard said in a text message Monday.
Are you in the same boat as Nygaard? Make a plan to vote-in person, officials said Monday.
At a news conference, Board of Elections Chair Marisel Hernandez said if your mail-in ballot still hasn’t been marked as “received,” you should vote in person via a provisional ballot.
Go to an early voting site Monday or your regular polling place Tuesday and explain your situation to a judge, Hernandez said, and the judge will give you a provisional ballot.
The city will record whichever ballot it gets first and will block the second ballot. This will ensure your vote gets counted without you getting in trouble, Hernandez said.
Additionally, people who applied to vote by mail but never got a ballot can go to an early voting site Monday and sign an affidavit to vote in person. Or, on Tuesday, those people can go to their regular polling place and can fill out a provisional ballot.
“Encourage your neighbors, your family members to come out and vote,” Hernandez said. “It’s so important for everyone to exercise this most sacred right.”
Look up your polling place online.
Voters have already destroyed Chicago’s records for early voting. More than 401,000 mail-in ballots have been cast as of Sunday night, breaking the prior record of 94,000 mail-in ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election.
Those numbers will climb even higher as more mail-in ballots come in and people continue early voting Monday, election officials say.
“Early turnout has been incredible, and we are so excited so many Chicagoans are exercising their right to vote,” Hernandez said. “We have shattered our previous vote-by-mail record, and the board is proud that so many Chicagoans have decided to utilize this safe and convenient voting method.”
Chicagoans have been urged to vote by mail or vote early this election due to the coronavirus pandemic. A record number of 507,000 people applied to vote by mail, meaning about 80 percent of those who wanted to vote by mail have cast a ballot that way.
People who applied to vote by mail but haven’t submitted their ballot yet are highly encouraged at this point to submit their ballot at a dropoff box rather than mail it in to ensure it’s counted on time.
There are dropoff boxes at all 51 early voting sites Monday and Tuesday, and there will be dropoff boxes at the United Center, Sox Park and Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
Those who wish to vote by mail Tuesday are advised to take their completed mail-in ballot to a dropoff box at an early voting site or at the United Center, Sox Park or Wrigley Field. There will not be dropoff boxes at regular polling places.
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