Early Voting, Mail Voting Set New Primary Election Records

79% of early voters over 50 years old

Cook County, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Little more than one week into early voting for next Tuesday’s Presidential Primary election, suburban Cook County voters have cast more ballots than in any previous presidential primary, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Thursday.

At the end of the day Wednesday, 59,578 suburban Cook County voters had cast their ballots in early voting, surpassing the 51,116 early votes which were cast in the 2008 Presidential Primary.  Voters have also mailed in more than 12,000 ballots, which exceeds the previous high mark for a presidential primary of 9,667 mail ballots returned in 2012.

“With nearly five days of early voting remaining, we’ve already broken the record we set in 2008,” Orr said. “In-person early voting is something voters expect, and it’s become an ingrained part of the election process.”

So far, the split between voters taking Democratic vs. Republican ballots has been consistent with previous suburban Cook County elections. Democratic ballots have been taken by 71 percent of early voters, while Republican ballots have been taken by 29 percent.

Early Voting Totals by Year & Party

2016 Presidential Primary
(through 3/7/2016)
2012 Presidential Primary 2008 Presidential Primary
31,122 12,897 44,042
22,374 14,278 36,990
40,920 9,906 51,067
70.7% 29.3%
60.5% 38.6%
80.1% 19.4%

*Total includes Grace Period early votes, and Green Party, Non-Partisan, and ‘Other’ ballots.

Early voting opened on Monday, February 29 and will run through Monday, March 14. Though Monday, March 7, Casimir Pulaski Day, was a countywide holiday, all 44 of suburban Cook County’s early voting sites were open.

Anyone can follow early voting via the Clerk’s online, real-time reporting of early voting ballots cast at cookcountyclerk.com/earlyvoting.

Early Voting Participation by Location
The five busiest early voting sites through one week of early voting have been: Orland Park (2,457); Arlington Heights (2,364); Matteson (2,041); Evanston (1,946); and Northbrook (1,796).

Early Voting Participation by Age & Gender
The vast majority – 79 percent — of early voters in the first week have been older than 50. Voters older than 60 have made up 28 percent of early voters. Just 6.4 percent of early voters have been between 17 and 29 years old.

Women have made up 54 percent of all early voters in the first week.

All early voting sites also offer grace period registration and voting. So far, there have been nearly 3,000 grace period voters. The grace period allows Cook County residents to register and vote on the same day. Individuals looking to participate simply need two pieces of identification, one of which shows the voter’s current address. No photo ID is necessary to register.

The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is 11:59 p.m. today. Ballots returned to the Clerk’s office must be postmarked at the latest on Election Day.

Mail Voting
Voting by mail is also close to surpassing previous primary election milestones. While there are few recent elections to make mail voting comparisons with (no-excuse mail ballots went into effect in 2012 and online applications for mail ballots debuted in 2014), measured against the past two elections, it has grown dramatically in popularity, as well.

Through Monday, March 8, about 12,500 mail ballots had been returned to the Clerk’s office. Voters overwhelmingly chose to apply for those ballots online, as 83 percent of the 33,000 requested mail voting applications have been through the Clerk’s website—a 15 percent increase from the previous election.

Mail Voting

2016 Primary* 2014 Gubernatorial General 2014 Gubernatorial Primary 2012 Presidential General 2012 Presidential Primary
Ballots returned Ballots returned Ballots returned Ballots returned Ballots returned
12,500 51,237 8,288 36,754 9,667

*Through 3/8/2016             

Early Voting ends on Monday, March 14. Not every one of suburban Cook County’s 44 early voting sites will be open through Monday.  The suburban courthouse early voting sites will be closed on Saturday. On Sunday, 14 sites will be open, and on Monday, 19 early voting sites will be open. Voters are urged to visit cookcountyclerk.com/earlyvotingfor a complete list of early voting locations and hours. Also online are an early voting map; complete candidate list; referenda list; and historic turnout results.

A daily breakdown of Early Voting turnout by site is available at cookcountyclerk.com/earlyvoting.

Source: Cook County Clerk