In-person early voting for the fast-approaching March 15 primary election began at 9 a.m. Monday in Chicago and neighboring suburbs.
Thirty-seven Chicago locations will offer early voting until March 12, while 14 locations will hold early voting until March 14.
During the last election, Cook County reported that over 36,000 early ballots were cast.
Ballots can also be cast by mail. As of 2010, voters are no longer required to provide a reason for filing an absentee ballot.
The Chicago Board of Elections in the Loop has offered early voting since mid-February.
Early-voting will allow Cook County residents to weigh-in early on some of the high-profile elections that will be decided March 15.
The ticket for the Democratic presidential nomination features former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Republican ballot features GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp will face off in the Democratic primary for Mark Kirk’s U.S. Senate seat.
Incumbent Kirk will face underdog Oswego businessman James Marter in the Republican primary for his U.S. Senate seat.
Also included on the ballot are the Democratic hopefuls for State’s Attorney, incumbent Anita Alvarez, Kim Foxx and Donna More.
Republican State’s Attorney candidate Christopher Pfannkuche will run unopposed on the Republican ballot.
Illinois instituted no-excuse early voting in 2006 as a result of declining Election Day voter turnout. The program has since created a political tug-of-war, with Democrats lobbying for its expansion and Republicans approaching the program with caution.
A press conference touting the early-voting initiative will be held by at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Monday. Chicago Board of Election Commissioners and Cook County Clerk David Orr will host.
This is the third time early voting has been offered in Chicago and Cook County during a presidential election cycle.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel cast a ballot at the Board of Elections Monday morning.