While Election Day is officially scheduled for November 3, the Peoria County Election Commission is encouraging residents to cast their ballots early this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of germs among voters, the Election Commission is highlighting two alternatives to in-person voting on Election Day.
Vote by Mail
One popular alternative is the Vote by Mail option, which has been available to Peoria County voters since 2010. Residents who vote by mail will be sent a paper ballot that can be filled out from the comfort and safety of home. Vote by Mail ballots were mailed to residents beginning September 24, and ballots must be sent back and postmarked by November 3.
For residents who are not comfortable mailing back their ballots, a drop box has been installed outside the Peoria County Election Commission headquarters (4422 Brandywine Drive, Ste. 1, Peoria). It will have 24/7 surveillance so voters can drop off ballots at any time that is convenient for them. Once a ballot is received, a bipartisan panel of three trained election judges will complete the signature verification process. This verification process is also used for in-person voting at all polling places.
A second alternative is Early Voting, available through November 2 at several locations throughout Peoria County. This option is available to all County residents and is perfect for those who want to spend less time waiting in line on Election Day. Early Voting locations will also have secure drop boxes available onsite for residents to safely deposit Vote by Mail ballots, should they decide not to send it through the mail or make the trip to the Election Commission’s main drop box. A full schedule with Early Voting locations can be found online at peoriaelections.org/175.
Voting in Person
For residents who want to stick to voting in-person on November 3, rest assured that Peoria County’s polling places will be open. For the safety of election judges and residents, the Election Commission requests all voters entering a polling place or Early Voting location to wear a face covering, practice social distancing, and take advantage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) offered onsite if needed. Hand sanitizer and protective fingertip coverings will be available to reduce the spread of germs in the voting booths; voters are encouraged to bring their own pens if possible.
Due to the concerns of COVID-19 and the safety of all residents, some polling places may be subject to change this year. Residents will be notified by mail if their designated polling place has changed, and the Election Commission will do all they can to keep residents up-to-date and informed. No matter which voting option a resident chooses, we look forward to ensuring that this historic election season is as safe and efficient as possible. PM
For information on requesting a Vote by Mail ballot, Early Voting locations and more, visit peoriaelections.org or call (309) 324-2300.