Voters in Kankakee County will receive a postcard soon explaining an option for voting by mail.

According to Kankakee County Clerk Dan Hendrickson, “You may now apply to permanently be placed on vote by mail status.” The postcard to voters will include an application to be permanently placed on this list, and an explanation of the new law that created the list.

Those on the permanent vote by mail list will automatically receive a ballot in the mail 40 days in advance of any general, consolidated or primary election. When they receive the postcard, voters have four options related to the new permanent vote by mail list:

1. Apply to receive a ballot in advance of every Kankakee County election, stating which party’s ballot the voter wants for primary elections. They will cast their ballots by mail.

2. Apply to receive a ballot by mail for only elections that do not require a party designation.

3. Apply to receive a ballot solely for the 2023 Consolidated Election.

4. Do nothing and not be placed on the list. They will continue to vote at their polling places on election day, vote early, or vote by mail as allowed in the past.

This new voting option was put into place by Illinois law in June 2021. Illinois is one of several states to have this option for their voters. Hendrickson said he is required by law to send the letter and application to all voters in Kankakee County prior to every Consolidated and General Election.

This law part of a trend to encourage voting by mail.

“There is the convenience of early voting from home. In some of the larger polling places, it relieves the pressure of long lines at the end of election day,” he said. “In general, (voters) have the benefit of sitting at home, researching the candidates and taking their time to fill out a ballot. If you want to vote by mail, you don’t have to remember to request the ballot,” he added.  Other advantages of permanent voting by mail relate to possible bad weather on an election day, and more convenience for people with a disability, limited mobility or transportation concerns.

He assures voters that while the whole country is trending to early voting and mail-in ballots, regular Election Day will continue in Kankakee County. “The polls are going to be open. You will still have the option to do what you’ve always done and vote on election day if that’s your preference,” he said. “When we get that application back, that’s when something will change. Or if you choose not to apply now, you can always come back later to the County Clerk’s office and ask for an application to be put on the permanent vote my mail list.”

Hendrickson said the ballots will be sent by February 23 for those who return an application asking to be on the permanent vote by mail list, or are already on that list.  Hendrickson noted that some voters might get similar letters from other groups who are encouraging permanent voting by mail. Despite other mailings, he is required to send a letter from her office to every Kankakee County voter. Voters only need to file one application. Most importantly, he wants people to understand this option and urges people to call or come in to the office at 189 East Court Street in Kankakee if they have questions, call 815-937-2990 or email at