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Illinois Gets 'B' Grade As States Get Rated On Mail-In Ballot Processes

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's the way millions of people are voting this year: mail in ballots.

A report card just out grades Illinois and surrounding states on whether they're ready. CBS 2's Chris Tye reports not every state is getting a high mark.

Few of the 50 states operate the same. Chicago has a Super Site where Illinois absentee or mail-in voters can drop off their ballots between now and Election Day. CBS 2 found some states make it easier than Illinois, while others make it harder to vote early.

The political machine in this country is calling into question the machines and methods of voting by mail. But independent experts who've looked under the hood of it all say it's safe.

Elaine Kamarck and her team at the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C. thinktank, examined the mail in balloting procedures of all 50 states.

Oregon gets an "A" because voters automatically receive a ballot and they have experience with "...universal vote-by-mail from the 2016 election." In fact, Oregon resident have been voting by mail here for over 20 years with only 15 cases of fraud.

"That's 15 out of 15 million votes cast. In other words, the fraud rate is miniscule and has never changed an election," Kamarck said.

Illinois gets a "B." The state lost points since registered voters don't automatically receive a ballot in the mail. But Illinois gets points since all registered voters do receive an application.

Wisconsin gets "C" losing points since it requires a witness to observe the voter marking the absentee ballot. Indiana received a grade of "D" and that's partly because voters must submit a request along with a reason as to why they can't vote in person.


Drop off boxes aren't available for voters in Indiana and it lost points for not counting ballots arriving after Election Day, even if postmarked in time.

As for overall fraud opportunities once the ballot arrives to be counted?

"There's barcodes, there's a certain paper weight, ballot design that allows the election officials to see instantly to see if the ballot is fraudulent," Kamarck said.

The city of Chicago and Cook County said they are ready. But with such heightened demand, they said they could use a few thousand more election judges between now and Election Day.

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