A few weeks ago, Hardin County Clerk Jill Cowsert announced Vote By Mail application were mailed out to all who voted in at least one election held in the last three years (2018 General, 2019 Consolidated, or 2020 Primary). Liberty, a company her office uses for election equipment and services, reported that those applications were finally mailed out, later than expected, on Friday, July 31. Cowsert also learned that another organization, Illinois Votes 2020 Paid for by Vote Yes for Fairness, also has mailed out applications.
In May, the General Assembly passed sweeping legislation requiring county clerks across Illinois to send out Vote By Mail applications in an effort to prevent community spread of COVID-19. If a person chooses to receive a Vote By Mail ballot, one will be mailed before the November 3rd Election.
Cowsert said the process is costly for the County, but she feels it’s important to prevent a situation where citizens have to choose between their right to vote and a chance on getting sick. Cowsert said it will cost about $5.00 for each citizen who chooses to Vote By Mail, but some of the cost will be reimbursed due to the COVID pandemic.
Who Should Respond and Mail the Application Back In?
Voters who would like to Vote By Mail must mark that option on the postcard, sign and print their name, add their new 911 address, phone number, and return the postcard. Postage is not prepaid; the postcard will require a stamp. You may also drop it off in person or email to [email protected]
Cowsert said since another organization is mailing out the application too, only one needs to be mailed back in to her office if a person plans to Vote By Mail. She said the ones mailed out from her office will have American Flags in the upper corners, but either application will work.
Who Should Throw the Application Away?
If a voter plans to participate in Early Voting at the Elizabethtown Courthouse or Vote at the Polls, Cowsert asks that the application not be returned, but thrown away. Citizens who vote in person will follow the same steps they have in past elections.
Early Voting begins September 24, 2020. Vote By Mail Ballots will be mailed on September 24, 2020 through October 29, 2020. If the application for a Vote by Mail Ballot is received by September 24th, the ballot will be mailed to the voter no later than October 5th. For applications received after September 24th, the ballot will be mailed to the voter within two business days.
Anyone who registered to vote July 16 or after will be mailed an application to vote by mail from Cowsert’s office. They will not be mailed out from Liberty, and voters in this case should expect those applications to arrive a little later.
For those who have questions, call 618-287-2251 to speak with County Clerk Jill Cowsert.
Form Mailed Out By Liberty, a company hired by the County Clerk’s office:
Form Mailed Out By Illinois Votes 2020 Paid for by Vote Yes for Fairness:
Form Mailed Out By the County Clerk’s office to those who Registered July 16 or later: