Election officials hope to exceed 2008’s early voting numbers
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporteremail@example.com October 22, 2012 10:48AM
Early voters took advantage of the chance to vote today at Welles Park in Chicago on October 22, 2012. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: November 24, 2012 6:09AM
Chicago and Cook County officials said they hope to see more than a quarter of this year’s ballots cast before Election Day as they helped kick off early voting in Illinois Monday, setting a goal to exceed numbers from 2008.
“In a perfect world, I would like to see half our voters use early voting and actually have their votes in before the actual Election Day on Nov. 6,” said Chicago Election Board Chairman Langdon Neal.
A handful of voters also showed up at the Museum of Broadcast Communications to cast some of Illinois’ first general election ballots. Several said they planned to be out of town on Election Day. Others said it was simply more convenient for them to vote early, and they had their minds made up.
Chicagoans can find their nearest early voting location at chicagoelections.com. In suburban Cook County, 44 early voting locations are open. They are listed at cookcountyclerk.com.
Voters can use any of the early voting locations and don’t need to provide a reason for casting their ballots in advance. Early voting was first introduced in Illinois in 2006. The highest turnout was in Chicago ahead of the 2008 presidential election, when more than 260,000 voters or a quarter of the voters cast early ballots in the city.
People who voted Monday morning did so in advance of the third and final debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. A few voters said they did not expect the debate to change their votes.
“The debates are nice,” said Ann Shorey of Chicago. “They’re fun to watch and they’re entertaining. But as far as the real facts, you have to look at the record and see what’s actually happened.”