In a continuing effort to improve efficiency and to save approximately $750,000 per year, the number of suburban Cook County election precincts will be reduced by 353 starting with the February gubernatorial primary, Clerk David Orr announced today.
Suburban Cook County will have 1,937 election precincts, down from 2,290, following approval this summer by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
"We were charged with identifying ways to trim our budgets," Orr said. "By merging precincts with others in the same polling location or combining precincts where there are too few voters, we will be able to save three-quarters of a million dollars every year with little to no impact on voters."
More voters are taking advantage of pre-Election Day opportunities to cast a ballot, such as early and absentee voting. In the Presidential Election, for example, nearly 25 percent of all voters voted prior to Nov. 4 -- the greatest Early Voting turnout ever in suburban Cook County. As a result, fewer voters visit the polls on Election Day.
"The trend toward pre-Election Day voting means precincts can have larger numbers of voters because many of them will not appear in the precinct on Election Day," Orr said.
In 204 of the 353 affected precincts, or nearly 60 percent, the precinct will be combined with another precinct at the same polling location. Voters will notice no change since they will be voting in the same polling location as before. It will also eliminate confusion since voters sometimes are in the correct location but wait in line at the wrong precinct check-in table.
Many of the other affected precincts will be moved to a new site closer to where voters reside. None of the precinct changes will result in a precinct being split between two municipalities. And no district boundaries have changed as result of this precinct consolidation.
"This latest reduction continues our policy over the years to regularly identify opportunities to merge precincts and save tax dollars," added Orr. The clerk's office trimmed the number of precincts by 212 between 2002 and 2008, from 2,502 to 2,290.
All households will receive an election mailer prior to the Feb. 2, 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election notifying voters of their polling place, location and precinct number.
New precinct information is available to voters by using the Voter Toolkit search function at voterinfonet.com. Voters can enter their home address into the Voter Toolkit to see if their precinct has moved to a different polling location.
Lists and maps of precincts by township are also available online.