Chicago Mayoral Election 2023

Chicago Sets Single-Day Early Voting Record Monday as Severe Weather Could Loom on Election Day

The city of Chicago set a new record for early ballots cast in a single day, as voters headed to the polls with the possibility of severe weather looming on Election Day.

According to an update from the Chicago Board of Elections, more than 30,000 ballots were cast at early-voting sites on Monday, setting a new single-day record for the city.

In all, nearly 300,000 ballots have been cast at early voting sites and via the mail ahead of the Tuesday election, according to election officials, far outpacing previous runoff elections in the city.

Officials had hoped that more mail-in ballots would be submitted in the days before the election to avoid a lengthy counting process, but as of Monday night, 91,838 mail-in ballots have yet to be returned, meaning that the results of some elections could be somewhat delayed as the wait begins for those votes to arrive.

Under election law, any mail-in ballot that is either put into a dropbox by the end of the day on Election Day, or is postmarked by April 4 and received by the board of elections by April 18, will be counted.

During the Feb. 28 general election, thousands of ballots weren’t returned as Election Day dawned, and ultimately more than 52% of those ballots were returned and counted in the two weeks that followed, according to officials.

In the city of Chicago, the mayoral race has appeared to remain tightly-contested throughout, with Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas both trying to grab every available vote to secure an edge in the contest.

There are also more than a dozen City Council races that are hitting runoffs, with some potentially coming down to the wire as the city’s new leadership group takes shape.

According to the board of elections, a total of 292,591 ballots have been cast during the election cycle. Of those, 184,723 were submitted at early voting sites, and another 107,868 were sent in via the mail.

All of those ballots will be included in the opening round of election returns, which should be released by the board just after the polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

It is unclear how the surge in early and mail-in balloting will impact turnout, but officials hope that turnout will exceed that of the 2019 runoff between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, which saw 33.1% of eligible voters cast ballots.

In 2015, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel defeated Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, with 41.1% voter turnout in that race.

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