Press packet (large file)
Absentee and Early Voting participation up over '06
More than twice as many suburban Cook County voters have voted early and requested absentee ballots than in the 2006 gubernatorial election, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Friday.
"No-excuse absentee voting, offered for the first time in an Illinois general election, is proving popular with voters," Orr said at a joint press conference with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. "My office has processed more than 32,000 absentee applications, double the 16,000 requests received in the last midterm election."
Campaigns, political parties and public interest groups encouraged voters to request absentee ballots like never before. Those efforts did have a few hiccups, such as late mailings, but voters will not be disenfranchised.
"Voters who don't receive their absentee ballot in time can vote in their home precinct on Tuesday," Orr said. "Remember, your absentee ballot will be counted as long as it is postmarked by Nov. 1 and received by Nov. 16."
Early Voting participation also increased over the 2006 turnout. With Early Voting ending today at 5 p.m., more than 72,000 suburban Cook County voters have cast ballots. Less than 33,000 participated in 2006. Wednesday was the busiest day of the Early Voting period, with 9,675 voters casting ballots.
More women (53 percent) voted early than men, and 44 percent of all early voters were 65 or older.
Overall suburban Cook County turnout for recent gubernatorial elections ranges from 49.7 percent in 2006 to 53.9 percent in 1998. Since 1990, suburban Cook County picked the statewide winner for governor in each election.
On Tuesday, suburban Cook County's 1,937 precincts will be staffed by about 10,000 election judges and equipment managers, including nearly 2,000 high school and college students.
Orr offered these Election Day tips and reminders:
Voters will have a choice of voting on a touch screen or with a paper ballot.
- Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Polling places are least crowded from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Anyone in line when polls close at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
- The Clerk's office has voter hotlines in four languages (English: 312.603.0906; Spanish: 312.603.6767; Polish: 312.603.6770; Chinese: 312.603.6769), as well as a TDD line for the hearing impaired (312.603.0903) and a legal line to report fraud and irregularities (312.603.0236).
- At cookcountyclerk.com, voters can verify their registration, find their polling place and view a sample ballot.
This election features two races for U.S. Senate -- one for the full 6-year term and one for the unexpired term -- and a Illinois Constitutional amendment question.
Voters in the general election will elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, U.S. senator, representatives in Congress, state senators and state representatives. Certain county offices -- including county board president and commissioners -- will also be elected.