On this Patriot Day, Cook County Clerk David Orr and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined forces to encourage men and women in uniform to register to vote and cast a ballot for the Nov. 4 Presidential Election.
"Nearly 3,000 service members requested absentee ballots prior to the last presidential election in 2004," Orr said today at a 10:30 a.m. press conference. "With the heightened interest in this election, it's very likely that number will be greater in 2008."
Military men and women can register to vote and request an absentee ballot on a combined form, called the Federal Postcard Application, available at www.fvap.gov.
Important voting dates for service members
- NOW: Federal Postcard Application available at www.fvap.gov; application includes both voter registration and absentee ballot request
- Sept. 20: Recommended mail-by date for completed applications Oct. 25: Deadline for election authority to receive completed applications
- Nov. 3: Voted ballots must be postmarked by this date
To allow for mailing time, the Federal Voting Assistance Program recommends mailing completed applications by Sept. 20 to the service member's home election authority. Suburban Cook County residents should mail their completed applications to the Clerk's office, 69 W. Washington, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602; Chicago residents submit their requests to the Chicago Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington, Suite 600, IL 60602. Residents of other jurisdictions can contact their local election authority or visit elections.state.il.us for more information.
In addition to mailing the completed application, the Clerk's office recommends service members fax (312.603.9784) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the completed application so that the Clerk's office can begin processing the request. Ballots will be ready for delivery - snail mail, fax or email - when the completed application is received in the mail.
Voted ballots must be mailed back to the election authority. Discounted, expedited shipping is available for military voters through www.fvap.gov.
Due to a law Orr promoted, voted absentee ballots received within two weeks of Election Day will be counted. Ballots for the presidential election must be post-marked by midnight on Nov. 3, and received by Nov. 18.
Quinn and Orr urge the families of military men and women serving away from home to alert them to this vital program.
"The Federal Voting Assistance Program recommends our service members overseas register and apply for an absentee ballot right away," Quinn said on the 7th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.