Election officials: Kane County mail-in ballots, polling places will be safe and secure
As the Kane County clerk's office gears up to handle the largest number of mail-in ballots it's ever processed and guard against COVID-19 at polling places, election officials told county board members they're ready for voters to cast the first early ballots of the 2020 election next week.
By Monday, the clerk's office will have received more than 90,000 requests for mail-in ballots. The 2016 presidential election saw only 10,608 votes by mail. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 29.
"But don't wait," advised Deputy Clerk Brian Pollock. "It's not that the mail system can't handle it. It can. That's five days before the election. But don't risk it. Make your application as soon as possible."
Voters who requested mail-in ballots will begin receiving them Sept. 24. Voters can return those ballots by signing them, placing them in the postage-paid envelopes the mail-in ballots come with and putting them in the regular mail. They can also be returned directly to the clerk's office or one of three drop boxes the clerk will establish.
Many of the concerns about mail-in ballot security surround the idea of drop boxes. Pollock indicated the three drop box sites will be located within government buildings -- one each in Aurora, Elgin and Geneva. Those locations are still being finalized.
Republican county board member Doug Scheflow said he likes the idea of having the drop boxes inside government buildings that provide cameras and constant monitoring.
"I think that's very secure," Scheflow said.
Early voting also begins Sept. 24 at the clerk's main office in Geneva and the satellite office in Aurora. Thirteen other early voting locations will open Oct. 19. There will also be early voting mobiles traveling throughout the county. The last day of early voting is Nov. 2.
Those who wish to vote in person Nov. 3 can still do so. Pollock said there will be plastic screen barriers at every polling station. Every voter and election judge will receive gloves, a face shield, an N95 mask and a full gown. There will also be disinfectant stands for people entering and leaving the polling places. And election judges will sanitize equipment after every use.
"We are doing everything we can to protect the voters and our election workers," Pollock said. "It will be as safe and as clean as we can do."
More information and details about early voting locations is on the Kane County Clerk's website: www.kanecountyclerk.org/elections.