A line snaked down the street and around the block in downtown Chicago on Thursday as voters braved a chilly, rainy day and set aside coronavirus fears to cast their ballots weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Concerns have been raised about how the U.S. Postal Service will handle the massive number of mail-in ballots that are expected to be cast this year. President Donald Trump has claimed without evidence that mail voting is ripe for fraud, and many of those who voted Thursday — the first day of early voting in the city — said they just wanted to avoid any problems.
“I had ordered a mail-in ballot, but the last week or two has gotten me terrified about what’s going to happen to mail-in ballots," said 59-year-old Julie Jacobson. She said she blames Trump for the “chaos and confusion.”
”So, no monkey business," Jacobson said. "I wanted to make sure my ballot was counted.”
Huge swaths of the electorate have chosen to vote by mail, in large part out of concern that going to vote in person could put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.
In Illinois, a record 1.82 million mail-in ballot applications were mailed out last week — nearly four times as many as were sent out two years ago.
Morgan Dacosta, a 27-year-old college student, clearly understands the risk but is willing to take it.
“As a younger person, I am really ready and willing to stand out here and brave the cold and the COVID and to make sure that my vote is counted,” she said.
Inside the “Super Site” polling place in the downtown Loop, concerns about the coronavirus were front-and-center. Social distancing was enforced and voters were required to wear masks.
The voting site will be open every day through Election Day.
Early voting locations and times are as follows:
All locations will have a mail-in ballot drop box on site.
Loop Super Site at Clark and Lake at 191 N. Clark St.
Oct. 1 to Nov. 2 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Election Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
All of the following locations are open from Oct. 14 to Nov. 2 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Loop Super Site at Clark & Lake - 191 N. Clark St.
- Ward 1 - Goldblatts Building, 1615 W Chicago Ave.
- Ward 2 - Ogden Elementary School, 24 W Walton St.
- Ward 3 - Beethoven Elementary School, 25 W 47th St.
- Ward 4 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, 4314 S Cottage Grove
- Ward 5 - Ray Elementary School, 5631 S Kimbark Ave.
- Ward 6 - Harvard Elementary School, 7525 S Harvard Ave.
- Ward 7 - Burnham Elementary School, 9928 S Crandon Ave.
- Ward 8 - Olive Harvey College, 10001 S Woodlawn Ave.
- Ward 9 - Curtis Elementary School, 32 E 115th St.
- Ward 10 - Sadlowski Elementary School, 3930 E 105th St.
- Ward 11 - Sheridan Elementary School, 533 W 27th St.
- Ward 12 - Kelly High School, 4136 S California Ave.
- Ward 13 - West Lawn Park, 4233 W 65th St.
- Ward 14 - Edwards Elementary School, 4815 S Karlov Ave.
- Ward 15 - Carson Elementary School, 5516 S Maplewood Ave.
- Ward 16 - Lindblom Park, 6054 S Damen Ave.
- Ward 17 - Southside High School, 7342 S Hoyne Ave.
- Ward 18 - Carroll Elementary School, 2929 W 83rd St.
- Ward 19 - Clissold Elementary School, 2350 W 110th Pl.
- Ward 20 - Dulles Elementary School, 6311 S Calumet Ave.
- Ward 21 - Turner - Drew Language Acad., 9300 S Princeton Ave.
- Ward 22 - Ortiz De Dominguez Elementary School, 3000 S Lawndale Ave.
- Ward 23 - Richardson Middle School, 6018 S Karlov Ave.
- Ward 24 - Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W Douglas Blvd.
- Ward 25 - Jungman Elementary School, 1746 S Miller St.
- Ward 26 - Casals Elementary School 3501, W Potomac Ave.
- Ward 27 - Suder Elementary School, 2022 W Washington Blvd
- Ward 28 - Westside Learning Center, 4624 W Madison St.
- Ward 29 - Burbank Elementary School, 2035 N Mobile Ave.
- Ward 30 - Lorca Elementary School, 3231 N Springfield Ave.
- Ward 31 - Falconer Elementary School, 3020 N Lamon Ave.
- Ward 32 - Pulaski Elementary School, 2230 W McLean Ave.
- Ward 33 - Bateman Elementary School, 4220 N Richmond St.
- Ward 34 - Dunne Elementary School, 10845 S Union Ave.
- Ward 35 - NEIU El Centro, 3390 N Avondale Ave.
- Ward 36 - Hanson Park Elementary School, 5411 W Fullerton Ave.
- Ward 37 - McNair Elementary School, 4820 W Walton St.
- Ward 38 - Hiawatha Park, 8029 W Forest Preserve Dr.
- Ward 39 - Sauganash Elementary School, 6040 N Kilpatrick Ave.
- Ward 40 - Mather High School, 5835 N Lincoln Ave.
- Ward 41 - Oriole Park Elementary School, 5424 N Oketo Ave.
- Ward 42 - Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.
- Ward 43 - Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N Orchard St.
- Ward 44 - Inter American Elementary School, 851 W Waveland Ave.
- Ward 45 - Hitch Elementary School, 5625 N McVicker Ave.
- Ward 46 - Truman College, 1145 W Wilson Ave.
- Ward 47 - Welles Park, 2333 W Sunnyside Ave.
- Ward 48 - Broadway Armory, 5917 N Broadway
- Ward 49 - New Field Elementary School, 1707 W Morse Ave.
- Ward 50 - Warren Park, 6601 N Western Ave.
Not in Chicago? You can find all the early voting locations and times for suburban Cook County and 10 other surrounding counties here.