The Morgan County Clerk is alerting voters to a change that is coming to their mailboxes soon.
Vote-by-mail applications will soon be landing in everyone’s mailboxes even if you didn’t request one.
Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener says her office is now required to see the applications are mailed because of legislation that passed through the Illinois General Assembly last year.
“Actually last June, the Governor signed Senate Bill 825 which established a permanent vote by mail program. In the next three to four weeks my office will be sent to every registered voter in Morgan County a vote by mail application.
What this means is, that you will receive the application, and please read it carefully, there are a couple of different options on there. Only if you fill it out and send it back to my office will you be enrolled in this program.”
Senate Bill 825 established a permanent vote by mail registry in Illinois which will allow registered voters in the state to always receive a vote by mail ballot instead of having to request one ballot each election cycle.
Waggener says she’s required under the new law to send each registered voter an application, however, anyone who does not want to participate can simply tear up the application and nothing will happen.
Waggener says if someone does want to participate, there are a few steps they need to pay attention to when filling out the form. “What this means is when you receive the application you’ll have two choices.
One, where you can mark it and receive ballots for only the general elections, you will not choose a party. Or two, you can select to receive ballots for every election so on the application you would need to designate a party that you want to be affiliated with.”
If a voter opts to also receive primary ballots by mail, they must declare a party on the application. Democrat, Republican, and Other are listed in that order on the application.
Waggener warns that if someone selects “Other”, they must list the 3rd party by name and if that party does not have any representation during a primary election, that voter would not receive a ballot during the primary. She stresses that voters do not have to opt into the program if they do not want to.
“Again, if you choose not to participate just ignore the application. Don’t send it back in, you can throw it away or whatever. But if you want to be on this roll, then you’ll need to fill it out and send it back to us.
But again this is only an application, you will not receive a ballot in the mail until I actually get an application in the mail that has been signed and returned, just as we have done in the past.”
Waggener says anyone who opts into the permanent vote by mail program can change their mind and go back to choosing to request a ballot each year or vote in person can do so simply by stopping into the Morgan County Clerk’s Office and notifying her staff of their preference, and they will opt them out of the program.