Millions of Illinois voters will receive applications to vote by mail in the November election after Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed legislation.

The two bills passed during the emergency legislative session apply to only the Nov. 3 general election, which was made a state and school holiday.

"Sending vote by mail applications to residents who have participated in recent elections will allow more people to exercise that right from the safety of their own homes and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Pritzker said in a prepared statement.

Under the new law, local election offices must mail or email vote-by-mail ballot applications along with pertinent dates to individuals who voted in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election or the 2020 general primary. Included are those voters who registered or changed addresses after the primary.

Voters who apply for a mail-in ballot by Oct. 1 will receive their ballot by Oct. 6, according to the governor’s staff.

The Illinois State Board of Elections must:

  • Post a mail-in ballot application on its website,
  • Allow those registering online to vote the opportunity to apply for a mail-in ballot,
  • Inform each election authority what it must do to comply; and
  • Adopt emergency rules to reimburse 2020 general election expenses related to COVID-19.

In addition, early voting hours will be expanded at permanent polling places from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Local election authorities will be allowed to develop secure drop boxes for mail-in ballots that would not require postage and to establish curbside voting.