Voter turnout in Chicago is expected to match and possibly surpass the 2012 election, with millennials leading all age groups in ballots cast, the Chicago Board of Elections said Tuesday.
By Tuesday evening, approximately 972,000 ballots total had been cast in Chicago, including Election Day voting, early voting and vote-by-mail ballots, according to James Allen, communications director for the Board of Elections.
Vote totals on Tuesday evening brought this year's turnout to around 60.1 percent of registered voters, Allen said. Turnout in Chicago in 2012 was 75.41 percent, while 2008 saw 73.87 percent of voters hit the polls.
"We expect the turnout to end up, at the very least, the same as 2012," Allen said. "Hopefully a little higher," he added.
Chicagoans set new records for early voting this year, shattering the city's record early turnout in 2008, even as many faced massive lines at polling places ahead of Election Day.
Monday capped off the early voting period with an unofficial count of 40,609 ballots cast - the city's highest-ever number of ballots cast on a single day of early voting.
That total was nearly double the previous record for ballots cast on a Sunday, set just the day before with 22,904 votes recorded, a number that also shattered the record of 11,946 ballots cast just one week before on Oct. 30.
Monday's record number of votes brought the unofficial early voting total citywide to 325,112, from the time voting began on Oct. 24 through the final day on Monday.
That turnout tops the city’s previous early voting record of 260,378 ballots cast ahead of the 2008 election, when hometown favorite Barack Obama was first running for president.
Once mail-in and grace-period registration ballots are counted, officials said the number of early votes cast this year will rise to about 400,000.
Of the age groups voting, millennials were leading the pack, as 25-34 year olds have cast approximately 208,000 ballots through early voting, vote-by-mail, and on Election Day combined.
"What's interesting is that it wasn’t that way during early voting and vote by mail, it was older groups then and it seems to have turned on Election Day," Allen said.
"We’ve had a lot of news reports about how millennials were not coming out and we’re proving that they are coming out," he added.
The 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 year old age groups are all tied for the second largest age group by turnout, having cast about 160,000 ballots apiece. 18-24-year-olds were the smallest group, casting around 79,000 ballots.