CHICAGO (CBS) — Election day in Illinois is two months away.
But Democratic candidate J. B. Prtizker is pushing people to vote early.READ MORE: 'The WasteShed' Art Store, Selling Recycled Supplies For Less, Opens Second Location In Evanston
He’s sending applications to vote-by-mail to thousands of homes.
But is that legal? And what do voters think? CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole went to find out.
Pritzker is already pushing for you to vote early.
Mail call at the Chicago Board of Election. On Monday, it processed just 500 requests for mail-in ballots. On Friday alone, it received another 3,000.
By the markings on the envelopes, most can be traced to the J.B. Pritzker campaign for governor.
“It looks like this whole stack is from the campaign mailing,” said Steve Cieslicki of the Chicago Board of Election.
The Democrat’s campaign admits hundreds of thousands of voters over the past week received the official looking mailings, with an endorsement letter from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, an application for a mail-in ballot and a postage paid envelope addressed to their board of elections, with indications it’s all paid for by the Priztker campaign.
CBS 2 showed the mailing to a number of voters and they had the same reaction.
“It sounds a little shady. It doesn’t sound legit,” said Andre Mosley.READ MORE: Local Businesses Hope For Similar Outcome Of Shoppers For Small Business Saturday
“It’s 100 percent legal. It’s been done before,” said Anne Caprara, campaign manager for the J.B. Pritzker campaign.
Elections officials said similar letters were sent from both leading candidates during the 2014 governor’s race. The Pritzker campaign said this mailing targets voters who sometimes skip off-year election cycles.
How much did it cost?
“We were willing to invest a lot of resources into this effort,”said Caprara.
In other words the Pritzker camp won’t tell, except to say the effort is unprecedented.
“When you increase the participation legally in the voting process I think it’s always a good thing,” said Pharaoh Blackwell from Humboldt Park.
Back at the Chicago Board of Election, the agency is looking at online request too, and preparing for record mail-in voting this fall.
“We are actually doing more business this far out from election day than we did in the 2016 presidential election,” said Jim Allen of the Chicago Board of Election.
CBS 2 did some calculations on what the campaign was able to share.MORE NEWS: Person Hospitalized Following Shooting On I-290
If 200,000 letters went out at 49 cents a stamp, in postage alone they would’ve spent about $98,000. A drop in the bucket in a race that’s expected to cost some 300 million dollars.