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More than 13,500 suburban Cook County voters cast ballots Monday, the first day of early voting throughout Illinois, setting a new record for the first day, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced.
Registered voters in Chicago can cast their ballot at any location in the city. All 51 early voting sites remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, though three spots -- Welles Park, Mount Greenwood Park and Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners offices at 69 W. Washington -- also will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
City election officials expect an "extremely strong turnout" during the Oct. 22-Nov. 3 early voting period because they say polls suggest few voters remain undecided and voters have become familiar with the pre-Election Day voting process.
Some voters said they'll scratch voting off their to-do list to avoid day-of lines.
"It's going to be long lines at the polls on Election Day, so if you don't want to stand in long lines, take advantage of this time," said William Harris, who plans on voting early.
Voters don't need a reason for voting early, and once a vote is cast, it cannot be amended or undone. A government-issued ID is required.
In 2008, 7,733 ballots were cast on the first day of Early Voting and more than 226,000 early votes were cast before Election Day
Unregistered voters can still register up to three days before Election Day downtown.