On Monday, 1,540 suburban Cook County voters cast ballots for the April 7 election, exceeding expectations and setting the tone for a busy election season, Clerk David Orr said.
"I'm shocked and pleasantly surprised by voter participation so far," Orr said.
Nearly 30 percent of all votes Monday were cast at the Early Voting sites in Melrose Park (189), Chicago Heights (124) and Orland Park (120).
Ballots were cast at each of the 42 sites for suburban Cook County voters, with all but five sites serving 10 or more voters. A breakdown of Early Voting turnout by site is updated after polls close each night and available here.
The April 7 election is both a Consolidated General Election -- with more than 3,000 village, school and township candidates on the ballot -- and a Special General Election to fill the 5th Congressional District seat left vacant by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
While Early Voters can cast ballots at any of the Early Voting locations, surveys show they tend to vote close to home. It is interesting to note the popularity of Early Voting in Melrose Park, where voters are cast ballots for local offices, plus the vacant 5th Congressional District seat.
Early Voting, which runs through April 2, was first instituted in March 2006 after a legislative package promoted by Orr became law. Early Voting turnout soared to record levels in November for the Presidential Election.
Eligible voters can cast a ballot at any of the suburban sites. Chicago voters who reside in the 5th Congressional District should visit chicagoelections.com for more information.
A PDF flyer of the Early Voting locations, hours and information is available online. The hours are Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Only the Clerk's downtown office will have Sunday hours from 9 a.m. to noon.
Those choosing to vote early do not need to provide a reason or excuse. Early voters are required to display valid identification before voting, such as a current driver's license, state-issued ID card or another government-issued photo ID.
Once a voter has participated in Early Voting, they cannot change their ballot or vote on Election Day. For more information about Early Voting or to confirm your voter registration, visit voterinfonet.com.
Members of the media are reminded they need to have printed blue media credentials from the Cook County Clerk's office to enter a suburban Early Voting site. Photographers must have voter consent to take pictures and any interviewing must be done outside the polling place so as not to interfere with other voters' experiences. Credentials are available in person at our downtown office, 69 W. Washington, Fifth Floor