ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES ILLINOIS RESIDENTS TO BE ALERT FOR ROBOCALLS TRYING TO DISCOURAGE VOTING BY MAIL
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today urged residents throughout Illinois to be on alert for robocalls that discourage voting by mail.
Some voters have reported receiving robocalls warning them that voting by mail could result in their private information being provided to third parties. According to Raoul, calls can involve an automated recording claiming that information belonging to people who vote by mail will be shared with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track people for mandatory vaccines, police departments and law enforcement in order to locate individuals who have outstanding warrants, and creditors to help find people who owe outstanding debt. Raoul is urging individuals to disregard any messages containing such false claims. People should instead contact the Illinois State Board of Elections with questions about voting – whether by mail or in person.
Illinois expanded voting by mail as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the law signed this summer, voters who submit an application for a mail-in ballot before Oct. 1 must receive their ballot no later than Oct. 6. The Board of Elections recently reported that more than 1 million voters have so far requested mail-in ballots. As potentially millions of residents continue to apply, Attorney General Raoul is cautioning residents to be alert for robocalls and other misinformation aimed at discouraging people from voting by mail.
“Many Illinois residents will opt to vote by mail as we all take precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the spread of COVID-19. We have already seen efforts to discourage people from voting by mail, and it is likely that those efforts will intensify as the November election approaches,” Raoul said. “I am urging voters to be aware that Illinois law does not permit election authorities to share personal information, regardless of the voting method you choose. If you receive a call, email or text trying to convince you otherwise, please report the contact to my office or the Illinois State Board of Elections.”
Voters in other states, including Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania have reported receiving similar calls. Raoul’s office is in contact with those attorneys general as they monitor and evaluate how pervasive the problem is.
“Voting by mail is as secure and confidential as in-person voting, and it's the safest method of voting for those concerned about COVID-19 exposure,” said State Board of Elections Executive Director Steve Sandvoss. “Voters should not fall prey to disinformation schemes like this one.”
Attorney General Raoul is urging voters to take the following steps:
- Ensure your voter registration is up to date. You can check your current voter registration information on the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website using the Registration Lookup.
- Update your voter registration. If you have moved or are not registered to vote, you can register using the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Online Voter Registration Application.
- Check the status of a vote-by-mail application. If you have filled out a vote-by-mail application, you can check the status by contacting your local election authority, which can be found on the Board of Elections’ website.
- Safely deliver your ballot to the election authority. If you complete a vote-by-mail ballot, ensure that it is safely returned to the election authority via the United States Postal Service or ballot drop boxes that your election authority establishes. Do not give your ballot to anyone you do not know.
- Take advantage of other early voting options. You can take advantage of early voting sites in the weeks preceding the election. Contact you election authority to learn where and when early voting is offered.
Attorney General Raoul also encourages residents to call his Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield) or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale) if they believe they have received a fraudulent call or are otherwise the victim of fraud relating to voting. Voters also can contact the Illinois State Board of Elections online or by calling 217-782-4141 or 312-814-6465.