Monday marks the official start of Early Voting for the April 5, 2011 Consolidated Election in suburban Cook County, Clerk David Orr announced Friday. More than 2,100 candidates are on the ballot for elected offices including mayor, alderman, school board member, park commissioner and more.
"Local officials affect lives a great deal, so voter participation is crucial," Orr said. "Government functions better when more people are heard."
The number of Early Voting ballots cast in suburban Cook County tripled from April 2007, the first time it was offered during a consolidated election, to April 2009.
April 2007 Consolidated: 8,205 of 236,050 ballots cast (3 percent of total turnout)
April 2009 Consolidated: 25,737 of 304,766 ballots cast (8 percent of total turnout)
Early Voting is available beginning Monday at 43 suburban sites. The last day of Early Voting is March 31. All sites are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays. Some locations are open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"You don't need an excuse, but don't forget to bring your government-issued photo ID," Orr said.
State law requires early voters to display valid identification to an election official before receiving a ballot to vote early. Valid forms of ID include: a current driver's license, state-issued ID card or another government-issued ID with a photograph.
The advent of no-excuse absentee voting may prompt some people to request a mail-in absentee ballot rather than visit an Early Voting site. In the 2007 and 2009 Consolidated Elections, voters cast about 3,500 and 5,500 absentee ballots, respectively. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is March 31, the same day Early Voting ends.