Early Ballots May Not Signal Higher Voter Turnout in Chicago | NBC Chicago
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Early Ballots May Not Signal Higher Voter Turnout in Chicago

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    Voters work on their ballots at their polling place, Su Nueva Laundromat, on November 4, 2014 in Chicago.

    The number of voters in Chicago who cast ballots before Tuesday's elections rose 23 percent from four years ago to just less than 90,000.

    But that's not necessarily an indication that overall turnout will be higher.

    Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, said there's no way to tell whether the early voting increase means extra interest in the election.

    Neal said it could also be that usual voters are changing the way they vote and deciding to cast early ballots.

    During an election day update for reporters, Neal added that turnout in the first couple of hours was "very light."

    The cold and wind might be keeping some away. The temperature was 8 degrees with a wind chill of 8 below when polls opened.

    "This has been a rough winter, but Chicagoans are hearty. It seems like a good day to vote to me," he said.

    Alderman and mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti likened the cold weather and February elections to "incumbent protection" for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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