County clerk addresses concerns about election
In the midst of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is an election year. A primary election was held in March. A general election is scheduled in November.
Concerns about the election process are ongoing and were addressed during the recent Illinois state legislative session.
While the state legislature was meeting, Union County Clerk Lance Meisenheimer voiced concerns about some of the issues which were being discussed.
With the session having come to an end, the county clerk shared his ongoing concerns in a letter to The Gazette-Democrat:
As you may know, I put out a letter a few weeks ago about the possibility of an all vote-by-mail election that would have been passed by the Illinois Legislature.
My concerns were listed on why I believe this would have been a bad decision for voters, myself as an Election Authority, and tax payers.
On Friday, May 22nd, both the Illinois House and Senate passed legislation that would change the November 3rd, 2020 election.
Senate Bill 1863 isn’t what I had feared the most, but it does cause for some concerns on what exactly has changed.
Everyone that voted in either the 2018 General, 2019 Consolidated or 2020 General Primary Elections will be mailed an application from the Union County Clerk’s Office.
You can mark on your application whether you’d like to vote by mail or vote in-person by either early voting at the County Clerk’s Office or at your designated polling place on election day.
The application will be sent out by August 1st, 2020.
If you would like to go ahead and apply for your mail-in ballot you may go ahead and do that by in-
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person request to our office, by mail, email or on our website. We don’t have the website ready yet for the requests but we will soon.
Some concerns that I see with these new changes will be what we have to deal with here in the office.
Sending out applications to every voter will not be cheap for the county and simply was not budgeted for in my office.
At this point the State Board of Elections will not confirm if we will be able to receive a reimbursement for these new added costs,
I do hope for local governments’ sake, they are able to fund these new costs for us that the state passed.
I am currently looking into some cost saving options with the United States Postal Service but I don’t have anything set just yet.
What you the voter needs to know is that you will get to vote like always and you still have your option on how you’d like to vote.
I feel that is the most important part to let everyone know and understand. It is also important to let everyone know that we will be making sure that each person only gets one ballot to cast.
So if you request to vote by mail, you won’t be allowed to vote in person either early or on Election Day.
We will also be making sure nobody abuses the vote by mail system and will be making sure that there will be no harvesting or fraudulent activities with the ballots or applications.
I’ve heard some concern with the process of the mail in ballot in our office.
I can assure you that we do not trace ballots by the person and we have no idea whose ballot is who’s when we enter them into the tabulation machine.
Election Judges from each party over see this process to make sure this right is protected for you.
So if you decide to vote by mail this fall be assured that your vote will count and it will be kept secret.
We are working hard here in my office to make sure we keep elections fair and hope you trust us with this very important task as you vote this fall.
As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. Lance Meisenheimer, Union County Clerk/Recorder, email@example.com.