After only six days, more than 51,000 suburban Cook County voters have turned out to vote early, smashing the turnout record set during Early Voting prior to the February primary election.
As of 4:15 p.m. Saturday, 51,333 early voters have cast ballots and two-thirds of the Early Voting period is yet to come. The previous Early Voting turnout high of 51,153 was set in the February primary.
Suburban voters also set a new single-day turnout record for Early Voting on Saturday, with more than 9,325 people casting ballots before polls closed.
"In the first presidential election since Illinois adopted Early Voting, we anticipated more people would come to the polls but this turnout is remarkable," Cook County Clerk David Orr said. "This is an historic election, and turnout has matched our sense of the interest. So far, we are averaging more than 8,000 early voters per day, which is greater than the single-day record previous to this election."
Once again, Orland Park is our frontrunner as the first site to pass 3,000 voters. The top five Early Voting sites in suburban Cook County are Orland Park Village Hall, Matteson Village Hall, South Holland Village Hall, Streamwood Village Hall and the Evanston Civic Center.
The Early Voting period in Illinois continues through Oct. 30. Suburban Cook County voters can choose to vote at any of 44 voting locations. All Cook County voters should visit EarlyVoters.com for more information.
As part of legislation promoted by Clerk Orr, Early Voting began in 2006 as an easier option for voters who might typically vote absentee or worry about the crowds typical on a big Election Day.
"Our voters really seem to love this option, as surveys show that 99% of early voters say they had either an 'excellent' or 'very good' experience," said Orr. "Because the United States still votes on a single weekday, many people have a hard time getting to the polls because of work, kids or just hectic life demands."
Early Voting takes place seven days a week and, unlike absentee voting, requires no excuse from voters. Early voters are required to bring government-issued photo ID with them when voting early, and all Early Voting is done on touch screen voting equipment.
"We are excited to see so many people seizing the opportunity to vote early, not only because it's convenient for them, but it should lighten our load on Election Day." Orr said. "We've certainly had a record-breaking kind of season, which means that voter registration, grace period registration, absentee ballot requests and Early Voting are all way up there. The more we can spread out the crowds, the quicker we can finish up our work on November 4."
Turnout totals will be posted each night at voterinfonet.com. From the home page, click on "Early Voting totals by site."
Hours are: Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and 9 a.m. to noon at select locations on Sundays.