I Want to Vote and I Want to Vote Now

Record numbers show up for early voting

Despite the fact that the Columbus Day holiday gives many people the day off of work,  both Cook County and Chicago election officials report record turnout for the first day of early voting on Monday.

More than 11,000 votes had been cast in Chicago and Cook County by 1 p.m.

The Chicago Board of Elections reports that there were 4,800 ballots cast before noon within the city limits. The previous record for the first day of early voting was 3,983 the 2008 primary on Jan. 14.

"Unlike past elections, we're also seeing more activity at all of the outlying ward sites around the city, with steady traffic downtown, but not all concentration downtown," a spokesman for the Board of Elections said.

Today was the first time Illinois voters were offered the early voting opportunity in a general election.

Until Oct. 30, voters can cast an early ballot without having to give a reason why they won't be able to vote on Election Day.  All's that's required is valid identification.

In Cook County, there are 51 early voting sites for city voters and 44 sites for suburban voters.   Chicago locations are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Suburban locations are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  One location is open seven days a week,  69. W. Washington in Chicago.

"Casting your ballot before Election Day makes voting more convenient, especially for the elderly and voters with busy schedules," said Cook County Clerk David Orr.

There will be three Kane County sites, including one at the county clerk's office, opening today.  Eleven more sites will open Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune.  

Aurora residents can cast an early vote at two sites, including the Aurora Election Commission office.

The Tribune also reported that "voters in Will and McHenry Counties will have to wait until Tuesday to cast early ballots as a result of the Columbus Day holiday.  McHenry County has 10 sites, including many municipal and township offices. Will County also will use many municipal and township sites for early voting."

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