Online application period for mail ballots begins

Date: 
December 16, 2015
Press Release
Elections

Cook County voters can now apply for 2016 Primary ballots

Suburban Cook County voters may now apply online for applications for mail ballots for the March 2016 Presidential Primary Election, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Wednesday.

The Clerk’s Office starts accepting applications for mail ballots Wednesday. Any registered suburban Cook County voter may request a mail ballot using the online application at cookcountyclerk.com/votebymail. Ballots will be mailed beginning in mid-February.

Online applications for mail ballots were first accepted in 2014 for the Gubernatorial Election, and the process proved quite popular with suburban Cook County voters, Orr said.

“We have seen voting by mail grow exponentially over the past few years,” Orr said, “and the added convenience of being able to apply for a mail ballot entirely online, without having to print and mail the application only makes it a more attractive option to voters. The online application expedites the mail balloting process and simplifies the steps for voters.”

The deadline to apply is March 10. Your ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day, March 15, and received at the Cook County Clerk's office within 14 days of Election Day.

The Clerk’s office is offering candidates and political parties a web tool and personalized link to the online mail ballot application portal which they can include on their own websites and printed materials. In the past, political parties and campaigns have distributed their own paper mail ballot applications, which the voter would have to mail to the Clerk’s office or return to the campaign, which then would return the completed applications to the Clerk’s office, where staff enter the data from the applications. “With the help of campaigns to direct voters to my office’s online mail ballot application site, we’ll be able to process the applications more efficiently,” Orr said.
 
In the 2012 Presidential Primary, 9,667 mail ballots were cast by suburban Cook County voters. That number rose to approximately 25,000 mail ballots by the 2012 General Election.

The mail ballot application can be completed on either computers or smartphones/tablets.

  • From your desktop or laptop computer, visit cookcountyclerk.com/votebymail. Click “Apply,” read the instructions and then click “Continue.”
  • From your smartphone or tablet, visit m.cookcountyclerk.com. Select the “Search By Birthday” tab and begin entering your information.

To complete an online mail ballot application, you will need:

  • Email address. (An email will be sent to confirm your application before processing can be completed.)
  • Illinois driver’s license or state identification number.
  • Last four digits of your Social Security Number.
  • The address where you would like your ballot mailed.

The virtual mail ballot application is translated into Spanish, Hindi and Chinese, per the requirements of the Federal Voting Rights Act.

While applications will be accepted online, ballots must be delivered by U.S. mail and cannot be distributed or received electronically. An exception is allowed for overseas voters and members of the military.

Voters whose registration does not currently include their driver’s license/state ID and/or Social Security Number may need to contact our office to update their registration before using the online application. You may also download, print and sign a paper application and send it to: Cook County Clerk’s office, Mail Voting Unit, 69 W. Washington St., Room 500, Chicago, IL 60602. Suburban Cook County voters can always check their voter registration status and other voter information at cookcountyclerk.com/voterinfo.

Suburban Cook County Voters with questions should contact the Clerk’s Mail Voting team at 312.603.0946 or mail.voting@cookcountyil.gov.

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