Smile Politely

I received my mail-in ballot then voted in person instead

Our Champaign County Clerk, Aaron Ammons, is doing a fantastic job at making sure we are all educated about voting by mail (if you aren’t aware of that, just go to the Champaign County Clerk Facebook page), and went the extra mile by providing drop boxes and drop off events as another option for submitting them. I just want to put that out there, because I don’t want this Splog to discourage you from voting by mail, especially if you don’t feel safe voting in person. 

My spouse and I requested our ballots back in June. We wanted to make sure we had the option available to us, because it’s really kind of impossible to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow much less what was going to happen several months down the road. As the date for early voting approached, we both decided that we wanted to vote in person. I can’t give you a solid reason for choosing to go this route, we just felt it was the way we wanted to go, and it seemed we could do it in a COVID safe way. 

For those who might be following a similar plan, here’s what to expect:

  • Once you receive your mail-in ballot, bring it with you to the early voting location. Right now Brookens Gym is the only one. Beginning October 19th there will be several more. You can find hours and locations here. Early voting location are universal polling places. Anyone can go to any location and vote. 
  • Please put on your mask before you enter. It’s dumb that this should have to be said to anyone at this point, but here we are.
  • They’ve marked out places on the floor to keep you distanced from others in line, and the election judges are masked and behind plexiglass.
  • When it’s your turn, hand the judge your ballot and say you would like to surrender it. The person will take it, void it, and then ask you to sign an affidavit indicating that you are surrendering it. (Bonus precaution: They are sanitizing pens after every use. The pens on the judges’ table have been sanitized. The pen you use for your signature you will also take with you to fill out your ballot. Then you drop it in a basket to be sanitized again).
  • Now you’re ready to do the regular voting in person routine, which you are hopefully familiar with.

We went at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, and there were about four people in line ahead of us, and then several more lined up behind us. We were in and out in about 10 minutes. 

Photo by Patrick Singer.

Editor’s note: The identifying information and bar code were removed from the photo.

Staff writer

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