The Chicago Board of Elections has received more than 350,000 vote-by-mail applications for the general election, up from about 250,000 in mid-August, and that number could grow to a third of all city voters by Election Day, the board’s chair said Tuesday.

The new count was discussed Tuesday at the board’s biweekly meeting. Officials also detailed plans for election judge recruitment and selected a new executive director, Charles Holiday, who begins his new position Dec. 1.

The number of vote-by-mail applications the city has received so far is more than triple the board’s all-time record of 118,000, reached during this year’s primary, according to Marisel Hernandez, chairwoman of the Chicago Board of Elections.

Given the current rate, Hernandez said in an interview later, the city “could easily reach 500,000” vote-by-mail applications out of about 1.52 million registered voters.

Some voters have been concerned about sending in their ballot through mail after some federal officials, including President Donald Trump, have cast doubt on the method, she said.

Hernandez has been “advising voters that there will be several options in this election” if they don’t feel confident about sending in their ballot by mail, including drop boxes at early voting sites, she said.

The board plans to have early voting and drop box locations finalized by Sept. 24, when mail-in ballots will start being sent out.

The city needs about 14,000 election judges, who will be paid $14 an hour during early voting and a $230 flat rate for Election Day, Hernandez said. Volunteers can apply to be an election judge at

“We have received a lot of support from our voters, and we have seen an increase in applications to be judges in elections,” Hernandez said.

As voters continue to apply for mail-in ballots, they should receive emails confirming their applications and can track their ballot through the U.S. Postal Service to ensure it’s received and counted. If applicants don’t receive an email confirmation, they should contact the board at 312-269-7900, Hernandez said.

A common mistake seen in Chicago vote-by-mail applications has been missing signatures on the outside of the return envelope. Officials urged applicants to sign where indicated to prevent any problems.


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