Lake County Voter and Vote By Mail Information

Vote by Mail Without Using the Post Office

Vote by mailIf you plan to vote by mail in the November election, you may drop off your completed ballot at one of the many postage-free drop boxes that will be set up around Lake County. Election judges will collect ballots daily and bring them to the Lake County Clerk’s office for processing.
Due to COVID-19, the Lake County Clerk’s Office encourages all voters to use the vote by mail option and avoid standing in line during early voting or on Election Day.

To vote by mail, you must complete and submit a request for a ballot.  The Lake County Clerk’s Office will begin mailing ballots to those who have requested them beginning Sept. 24.

How to Track your Mail-In Ballot: Track the clerk’s receipt of your mailed ballot by visiting or calling 847-377-2406 or 847-377-VOTE.

How to Vote in Person:  Early voting will be available from Sept. 24 to Oct. 16 at the Lake County Clerk’s Office, 18 N. County St., Waukegan during regular business hours Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Early voting in other locations across the county will be available from Oct. 19 to Nov 2.  On Election Day Nov. 3, polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Make Your Vote Count! Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. How do I arrange to vote by mail?

If you are a registered voter, you can request a ballot by submitting an “application.” You can do that wholly online or by returning a paper application. If you live in Lake County, go to If you live in Cook County, go to

  1. What if I’m not registered to vote or not sure I’m registered in Illinois?

To find out whether you’re registered to vote in Illinois, go to Or call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683), and a volunteer will check for you.

If you’re not registered in Illinois, and you are a U.S. citizen, will turn 18 years of age by November 3, 2020, will have lived at your address for at least 30 days prior to November 3, and don’t claim the right to vote anywhere else, you may register to vote.

You can register in person with a Deputy Voter Registrar through October 6, 2020. You will need a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID.

Online registration is available through 11:59 pm on October 18, 2020, at You must provide a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, the date the license or identification was issued, AND your birth date.

Starting October 19, 2020, you can register to vote at any Early Voting site in your county or, on Election Day, at the polling place assigned to your residential address; however, you must also vote at that time. This process is known as Grace Period Registration or Same Day Registration. You’ll need two pieces of identification, one of which shows your address. Acceptable ID includes a valid Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State ID and a letter to you at your address from a utility, school, or other official sender. If you have questions about valid forms of id, you can call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683).

  1. I’ve received multiple applications for ballots in the mail. Are they legitimate?

Several Democratic and other civic organizations are mailing ballots to registered voters. You need not worry about the legitimacy of those mailings as long as they call for returning the enclosed application form to your County Clerk’s office (check the address on the return envelope). If you have any questions about an application form you receive in the mail, you can apply online, which you can be sure is official, or call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683) for help.

  1. What is the deadline for submitting an application to request a mail-in ballot?

You can submit the application to request a mail-in ballot any time up until October 29, 2020, but we strongly recommend you do so right away. The earlier you request your ballot, the earlier you can return it, and the more time you’ll have to make sure everything is in order.

  1. How can I make sure my application to request a mail-in ballot was received?

If you live in Lake County, go to, and after filling in your personal information, click the button, “Track My Mail Ballot.” If you live in Cook County, go to, click the button, “What Is My Mail Ballot Status?” and fill in the requested information

  1. When can I expect to receive my mail-in ballot?

Starting on September 24, 2020, County Clerks will mail ballots to all registered voters who previously requested one by submitting an application. If you wait to request your ballot until after October 1, 2020, your County Clerk must mail the ballot to you within two business days of receiving your application. You can use the links in Answer Number 5 to track your application and ballot.

  1. What if I get a mail-in ballot and then decide I want to vote in person?

Just bring your mail-in ballot and certification envelope that came with it (or any parts you can find) to your polling place once in-person voting begins, return them to an election judge, and request a regular ballot to vote then and there. Easy! But having that ballot in hand before the polls are open for in-person voting ensures that if you decide you’d rather not leave home, or if anything else keeps you from the polls, you can still vote.

  1. How do I return my mail-in ballot, and what’s the deadline?

The simplest and safest way to return your mail-in ballot is to place it in a secure drop box. Mail-in ballots must be returned or postmarked no later than Election Day, November 3, 2020, but we encourage you to return yours as soon as possible.

In Lake County, beginning on September 24, 2020, and continuing through Election Day, November 3, 2020, you can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in any of four 24-hour, secure postage-free drop boxes that will be located outside the main entrances of certain branch court buildings. Go to for the exact locations.

The Lake County Clerk also will provide drop boxes at 17 early voting locations throughout Lake County. You can return your mail-in ballot by placing it in any of these drop boxes beginning October 19, 2020, until November 1, 2020, from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

On Monday, November 2, 2020, five of these drop boxes will be available from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. And on Election Day, November 3, 2020, drop boxes for return of mail-in ballots will be available at two Election Day voting sites from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. For the exact locations of these drop boxes, go to

Cook County also will have drop boxes at early voting sites, starting on October 19. These also will be accessible from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. A complete list of those locations is available at

In addition, Cook County will make drop boxes available beginning October 9, 2020, in six locations—one in the Loop and five at Regional Courthouses in suburban Cook County. Go to for a list of these locations.

A ballot placed in the U.S. mail and postmarked by Election Day will be valid as long as it is received within 14 days after Election Day. Lake County’s ballot takes a regular first-class stamp. If you live in Cook County, your ballot will come with a postage-paid return envelope.

If you choose, you can hand-deliver your mail-in ballot to your County Clerk’s office during normal business hours.

  1. What if I don’t understand how to fill out and return my VBM ballot?

Your VBM ballot will come to you with clear instructions, including illustrations. And closer to September 24, we will post our own illustrated instructions. If you still have questions, call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683), and one of our volunteers will walk you through it.

  1. How can I find out whether my ballot has been received?

If you live in Lake County, go to, and after filling in your personal information, click the button, “Track My Mail Ballot.” If you live in Cook County, go to, click the button, “What Is My Mail Ballot Status?” and fill in the requested information

More questions? Call the Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline at 847-432-VOTE (8683).

The above information has been provided by Tenth Dems

You Want to Win? Join Call Bank and Text Bank Efforts

Sonny pitches call and text banking

30,000+ letters hand written to registered voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio! We’ve done a great job. But that project is ending. If you’re truly committed to winning in November, make the transition to phone banking and text banking. Listen to this pitch:

Phone Banking contact: Kathleen Long

Text Banking contact: Laura Tanner

Phone Banking and Text Banking projects are administered by volunteers affiliated with Evanston Indivisible.

Mail Dates for The Big Send

Vote Forward

We’ve received a lot of questions about the Post Office and our plans for sending the letters you have written. Here is a statement from Vote Forward, the organizers of our letter writing initiative:


  • We’ve heard your concerns about The Big Send mail date, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure your letters are timed for maximum effect.
  • Many experiments have shown that GOTV messages sent too early are ineffective. Really! Trust us on this. Please send your letters on the official Vote Forward mail date, not earlier.
  • We are preparing to set a new, earlier October mail date for The Big Send. But we only want to change it once, so we will announce the new mail date in late September.

Here is a more comprehensive statement:

When we launched our 2020 GOTV (Get Out The Vote) campaigns in January, we did not anticipate that U.S. mail delivery, a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure, would become a political issue.

We did not anticipate that record numbers of us would want to vote by mail amid a global pandemic.

We also did not anticipate that Vote Forward’s letter writing efforts would emerge as one of the safest and most effective ways to encourage voters to turn out this fall.

And while we may not have planned for these eventualities, we are busy navigating them to ensure that your letters will be delivered in time to do what they are intended to do: to encourage relatively unlikely voters to cast a ballot in the 2020 general election.

To make certain that your letters are as effective as possible at increasing voter turnout, we will be setting an earlier October mail date.

What we’re doing to set a new mail date

Like you, we’re thinking a lot about recent news stories and the near future of USPS. And we’re keeping a close eye on the lawsuits, appeals, legislation, and electoral policy changes in our key states that affect how and when ballots must be received to be counted.

We’re also collecting a sampling of real life, real-time first-class USPS delivery times from states across the U.S. to our key states; this information is being gathered by Vote Forward volunteers participating in our Mailbox-to-Mailbox: Assessing USPS project. And soon, when we have the data from our recent Vote Forward Labs experiment in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, we’ll have more insight into whether sending “please vote” letters much earlier than planned could dampen the impact of your letters on voter turnout.

Why we’re doing all of this research now

Ordinarily, and in all of the experiments we’ve conducted in the past to show that letters increase voter turnout, we’ve sent them as close as possible to the election without missing it because we know that “please vote” messages fade from memory quickly, and because the relatively unlikely voters we’re encouraging tend to make the decision to vote — or not — close to the last minute.

We also know from a great deal of historical evidence in rigorously conducted experiments that “please vote” messages communicated too early have essentially no effect on voter turnout. We cannot make the mistake of setting a mail date that is so early it results in your letters being ineffectual.

And during the 2020 primaries, we learned that the number of requested absentee ballots sometimes exceeded the number of ballots returned by close to 40 percent on the day before the primary election. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it bolsters our thinking that a Vote Forward letter received days before the ballot return deadline could close this gap.

Why we cannot rush to set a new mail date

We’re writing to voters in 15 different states, with 15 different sets of election rules and deadlines, amid layers of lawsuits to change these rules and deadlines, evolving policy changes by elected and election officials, an uneven postal service, and record vote by mail spikes during a pandemic.

Following all of the above, we can tell you the electoral landscape in our key states continues to change each day. And each day we learn a little more about the status of mail delivery.

What we know about first-class mail and election mail

Some of you have written in, worried about overwhelming USPS by adding 10 million letters to the mailstream on a single day. The USPS Postal Facts for “one day” offers this perspective: USPS processes and delivers 181.9 million pieces of first-class mail each day, and on average, USPS processes 19.7 million mail pieces each hour. Given this consideration, we are planning to stick with a single mail date because staggered mail dates would require system changes, necessitate last moment letter sorting, and introduce unnecessary complexity into our efforts.

Other volunteers have written to say they’re concerned that our letters could delay the delivery of ballots by mail. As things stand, when prepared according to USPS guidance, official election mail, which includes official ballot materials and absentee applications, is given priority over first-class mail. These official election mail pieces feature three digit Service Type Identifiers, which are part of the Intelligent Mail Barcode. They increase the visibility of outbound and return election mail within the automated USPS environment and help with tracking.

We’ve also heard from volunteers who say that October 27th is too late to mail. We agree. This is the ideal mail date in an ordinary election year. We will email you with the new, official October mail date in late September.

Electoral policies are still in flux, but here is a snapshot of where things stand in our key states

A few highlights:

Non-mail ways to return a ballot
Many of our key states use and are adding ballot drop boxes, which offer a no-contact way to return a ballot and eliminate the time it would ordinarily take to return a ballot by mail. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Ohio (one per county), Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (available by municipality) will offer ballot drop boxes for the general election. Maine, with one drop box installed this summer in Bangor, is exploring the addition of ballot drop boxes. And ballots can be returned to local election offices in our key states, either by the voter or by a family member or “authorized designee,” with the exception of Pennsylvania, which limits returns to the voter.

Mailing and tracking ballots
Election officials in Michigan are collaborating with USPS officials to ensure that election mailings are highly visible and prioritized in their system. Arizona has adjusted its guidance on when to return a ballot by mail. And Florida, Wisconsin, and other key states are increasing voter education efforts to communicate the importance of requesting and returning mail-in ballots as early as possible.

Online ballot tracking, which displays if a voter’s ballot was sent and received, is already available in Arizona, Colorado (by municipality), Florida, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Maine voters can call their municipal clerk to track a ballot; and Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are adding technology that will allow voters and elections staff to track ballots as they move through the mailstream.

Voting early, either in-person or by mail
“No excuse” absentee voting is available in all of our key states, except Texas. In Colorado and Nevada, voters will receive general election ballots by mail. And Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin are mailing absentee ballot request forms to voters.

Where it is available, early voting or in-person absentee voting is possible through at least October 29th in our key states, and through November 2nd in Ohio, Montana, and Iowa. Only the key states of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire offer no early voting.

Extending ballot receipt deadlines
Lawsuits to extend ballot return deadlines from “received before polls close” on Election Day to “postmarked on” Election Day and received in the days following the election are active in Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other key states. In Arizona, a lawsuit filed to order the acceptance of ballots postmarked on Election Day was settled; ballots must still be received on Election Day, but the Secretary of State is required to increase voter education about the ballot receipt deadline. In Montana, plaintiffs prevailed in a lawsuit to accept ballots postmarked on Election Day and to allow for ballot drop boxes.

Don’t forget: Your letters are key, but they are not the only election communication your voters will receive

Election officials, state parties, and organizations on the ground in our key states are working hard to educate voters and provide the guidance they need to vote safely in the 2020 general election, including recommending they request a mail-in ballot as early as possible. Because we’re not alone in this effort, and given the risk of providing information that may be outdated by the time your letters arrive, we recommend against adding dates or details on voting methods to your letters or envelopes.

We have one favor to ask

Vote Forward is thrilled to be experiencing a surge in new sign-ups and activity, and with that, our Helpdesk is experiencing a high volume of emails. Vote Forward’s Helpdesk is staffed by a dedicated team of Vote Forward volunteers, who are working hard to support their fellow volunteers to keep the templates printing and letter stockpiles growing.

We will email you to inform you of the new, official October mail date in late September. Until then, whenever possible, please hold off on emailing the Helpdesk about the mail date. We hope you know from this lengthy message that we are acutely aware of what is happening on the ground in our key states, and we are doing everything possible to find the most effective mail date for your letters.

Please keep writing letters (so really two favors to ask)

Your “please vote” letters will provide the extra encouragement that will inspire more voices to be heard this fall.

We urge you to leave the mail date research and worries to us, so you can instead focus on what will make a difference this fall: writing more letters, recruiting friends and family to join this effort, becoming a poll worker if you can, buying stamps, and taking good care of yourselves as we work to increase voter turnout for the general election.

Thank you, as always, for all of your efforts.

The Vote Forward team

Reflections on Three Weeks at the Border

Peaceful Communities

Most days, all we could see of the deportees who were being forced onto planes bound for Central America was their feet shuffling in chains. But occasionally the buses and fuel trucks that were parked in a manner to obstruct our view were not carefully aligned, and we got a clear view of the adults and children. Sometimes the shades on the plane were not closed, and we could see faces looking out at their last view of our country.

On any day, we could go across the border into the camp where children would be playing with sticks and balls just like children everywhere. Parents would be sweeping the dirt outside their tents and tidying up. Some people would be cooking on wood stoves they had built out of mud or tubs from old washing machines. People would be passing the time.

When we crossed back into the United States, there were never more than three people in line ahead of us waiting to present U.S. passports. People from Mexico, who have permits to cross every day in order to work or go to school, have to wait for hours in their own line. We regularly saw paramedics tending to people who succumbed to the heat while waiting.

If we went into the tent courts, we could watch as judges who were miles away conducted hearings via closed circuit television. They were so polite we could almost believe that the asylum seekers had a reasonable chance of winning their cases. But they didn’t. Almost no one ever gets asylum in these courts, by design.

It is generally thought that people from Cuba and Venezuela have an easier time getting asylum than people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The reason doesn’t seem to be that they are at greater risk and therefore more deserving of asylum. Rather, it seems that our international politics and relationships dictate how lenient we are with people trying to flee their countries. The Cubans and Venezuelans also seem to be more likely to have enough money to hire lawyers, which makes a huge difference.

Lawyers tell us that detainees are being moved inland from American detention facilities that are near the border, presumably so that there will be room to detain more people near the border. This might happen if Mexico decides not to continue to allow the U.S. to warehouse immigrants there, if Central American countries stop letting us dump people there, or if the coronavirus keeps the detention camps in Mexico from being viable.

There is almost no medical care of any sort in the camps and little in the surrounding communities, so an outbreak of COVID-19 could be catastrophic. The organization that has been bringing in volunteers from around the country has asked people who are not locals not to come anymore as a precaution against their carrying the virus into the camps. There is no indication that our government would relax its policies and let stricken people come across in order to be treated in U.S. hospitals. The situation is grim.

I learned a great deal during my recent three-week stay on the border. Along with other volunteers, we were able to help people who came to witness how our country’s policies are being implemented and how they are affecting people. We also helped reporters understand what they had come to investigate. We made sure immigration officials knew we were watching. We supported local relief and advocacy efforts. And now I am home, ready to do what I can to keep this issue in the public’s awareness.

Because of the coronavirus situation, it is unclear what form our witnessing will take in the coming days and weeks, but we will find a way to move forward together. Thanks to everyone who has supported these efforts in so many ways.

Lee Goodman
Peaceful Communities, Inc

Join Lin-Manuel Miranda, Billy Eichner, Ai-jen Poo, and Malcolm Jenkins Inspiring Activists

Swing Left just launched a powerful new video campaign called Winning Is Everything, to communicate exactly what’s at stake this November, and that winning can—and must—start now.

We know you know that, but we need your help making sure everyone does. As one of Swing Left’s most engaged members, will you watch the Winning Is Everything video and share it with your network?


Go Green Deerfield – Deerfield Passes Sustainability Resolution

Go Green Deerfield

Great news from Deerfield!  Our Village Board of Trustees passed a Sustainability Resolution to reduce village wide GHG emissions 45% by 2030, and net zero by 2050.  Read the full resolution here. It took 12 months of Go Green Deerfield working closely with our Mayor, Village Staff, and the Board of Trustees to bring this to a vote last night.  It passed 5 to 1 and we are all very excited!

This step paves the way to taking Action- Village wide.  Our next step is to work with the Village to create a Green Action Task Force to carry out these goals. While our ultimate goal is to bring all stakeholders together, we intend to start with a smaller group to quickly pull together a plan and start implementing ready-to-go actions.  Our target timing to have this task force in place is by late March/ early April.

This outcome is the work of many, including each of you.  You have been open, supportive and collaborative partners in this joint effort to address climate change.  Every experience you shared, every person you connected us with, and every piece of knowledge you offered played a role in getting us to where we are today. Thank You!

Attend our monthly meeting – February 27, 7pm at the Deerfield Public Library
Learn about what actions and opportunities are coming up. Share your ideas and find collaborators to help bring those ideas to life. There is important work to be done now that the sustainability resolution has passed. All are welcome.

Horrors on the Southern Border

Immigration Asylum in Mexico - source

Until recently, our government allowed people from other countries to wait in the U.S. while their requests for asylum were being processed and decided. Now we make them wait on the other side of our border. Thousands of people are indefinitely stranded in places like Matamoros, Mexico, where I just returned from.

Neither our government nor the Mexican government is doing much of anything for these people. They live in small camping tents. They rely upon volunteers to bring them food. Clean water and toilets are scarce, and medical care is minimal. There is no work and no school. Our government’s policy is to let these people languish and suffer, in hopes that they will go away and that others will learn of their misery and decide not to try to come to the U.S.

Deliberately depriving people of food, sanitation, and other essentials of a decent life was the policy the Nazis followed in the 1930s and 40s in the ghettos and concentration camps. Over time during the Nazi era, what started as makeshift detention became large-scale incarceration. Dehumanization was institutionalized.

Today, child asylum seekers are no longer being detained in the U.S. in large tents the way they were at Tornillo, Texas, and Homestead, Florida. Our government has been building a series of permanent camps where children will be held. I visited an old WalMart in Brownsville, Texas where up to 1,500 immigrant children are being imprisoned. I also stopped by a warehouse in Raymondville, Texas, that is being refitted to hold 500 kids. A friend just stood outside a new prison that is under construction in El Paso, Texas, that will hold more than 500 kids. Other facilities are in the pipeline.

It took a while for the Nazis to develop their system of concentration camps. Dachau, established in 1933, became the model for later camps. What I saw in Mexico and Texas reminded me of something terrible. Our incarceration of immigrants is progressing along a terrifying trajectory. We are normalizing child abuse. We are perfecting systems that traumatize people. We are teaching the people who work at these prisons that it is OK to go along with and make money from deliberate cruelty.

I am disturbed by what I saw. But it is good that I saw it.

We have much to do.

Lee Goodman
Peaceful Communities, Inc.