HILLSBORO — It is important for voters to apply as soon as possible if they plan to vote by mail for the November 3 general election. Montgomery County Clerk Sandy Leitheiser could not press the importance of this enough.
While the statutory deadline for receiving a mail-in ballot is October 29, Leitheiser is offering an extension. Through a partnership with other election authorities and state leadership, Leitheiser is working to get voters to apply much earlier. This is so that her office and the United States Postal Service have sufficient time to mail and deliver the ballots.
Voters should fill out and return their ballots as soon as possible.
“I strongly advise anyone who intends to vote by mail but hasn’t returned their application [yet] to do so as soon as possible,” states Leitheiser.
As of the end of last week, ballots have been sent out to 2,862 of 16,443 registered voters in the county. Those ballots returning should be returned to the clerk’s office with a postmark on or before November 3 to be counted.
Ballot delivery delays contributors to concerns
Based on voter feedback, Leitheiser notes that the delivery of vote-by-mail ballots takes four to seven days. Some voters, however, do receive their ballots sooner or later.
Leitheiser encourages voters who are having concerns with delivery to utilize delivering their unused ballots back to the clerk’s office. Another option is the utilization of dropping off a completed ballot at the outdoor drive-thru ballot dropbox on the historic courthouse grounds. They can also deliver their completed ballot in person to the clerk’s office.
“More people than ever are choosing to vote by mail this election,” adds Leitheiser. “So, if you wish to return your vote by mail application, get it done today.”
Early voting underway
Early voting is underway and can be an option who wants to vote in-person, but not on Election Day. The Early Voting Center is located inside the west street-level entrance to the old courthouse in Hillsboro. The facility offers a COVID-19 safe environment to avoid the spread.
Leitheiser states that roughly 1,474 voters have cast their votes early.
The facility is open during the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is also open on Saturdays leading to the election from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
Election Day voting hours
For those wishing to vote in person on Election Day, all polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While there has yet to be any announcements of polling place closures, it is best to be in communication with the clerk’s office.
Voters who have questions about the voting and election process, plus any potential polling location closures, should contact the clerk’s office.
Voters can contact Leitheiser and her office staff via phone at (217) 532-9530. An alternative contact is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voters with problems voting or there is a suppression of their rights can reach out to organizations for assistance. These organizations include ACLU Illinois, Common Cause Illinois, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Their numbers are as follows: ACLU Illinois: (312) 201-9740, Common Cause Illinois: (312) 372-2422 and Lawyers’ Committee: (866) OUR-VOTE (687-8683).
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.