Park Forest resident Kenneth Thomas casts his ballot in Village Hall Wednesday. (Photo: ENEWSPF)
Updated October 17 at 10:40 a.m.
Cook County, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Officials in Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office report seeing an explosive jump in the number of early voters compared to last February’s primary election. The same phenomenon is occurring in the City of Chicago.
According to Senior Public Information Officer Courtney Greve, early voting accounted for 9% of the vote in suburban Cook County during the February primary, roughly 50,000 of the total votes cast.
In three days, nearly half that number have already come to the polls to vote early. Greve told eNews Park Forest almost 25,000 people have voted so far in suburban Cook County. Preliminary numbers indicate roughly 7,800 people voted on Monday, over 9.000 on Tuesday, and 7,500 on Wednesday.
UPDATE: As of 6:24 p.m. on October 16, Cook County Clerk David Orr reports that 32,991 people have voted in Suburban Cook County, 577 total in Park Forest.
"Clearly, people like Early Voting and the convenience it offers," Orr said. "At this pace, we'll exceed the primary's high of 51,000 early voters in about six days."
On a cautionary note, one voter did report receiving an incorrect ballot at the Park Forest location. According to the resident, the ballot did not have the correct name for State Representative and there was no Congressional office on the ballot.
According to a spokesperson for the Cook County Clerk’s office, voters can receive an incorrect ballot if the operators key in an incorrect code. While this happens very rarely, voters should make certain their ballot is accurate. Voters should cancel their ballot if they believe they have received the wrong ballot. If a voter completes and casts the ballot, then there is nothing that can be done.
Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections, told eNews Park Forest the City of Chicago is averaging between 10,000 and 11,000 voters per day. This is slightly more than double the number of people who voted in last February’s primary. As of Thursday at 5:00 p.m., preliminary figures show slightly over 40,000 voters during first four days in the City of Chicago.
Allen said the weather has helped, “Equipment’s doing just well, really well. This weather’s been fantastic.”
Allen says Chicago led the state in early voting in the primary, and expects to lead the state again for the general election if voter registration trends are an accurate indicator.
Early voting in Park Forest Village Hall. (Photo: ENEWSPF)
According to Allen, the Chicago Board of Elections received 80,000 new voter registrations during the final week registrations were accepted.
“This has never happened before in the 111 years of the Chicago Board of Elections,” Allen said. “The previous record was 31,000 in the primary.” Allen said the new registrations did not come from any organization. “This was usually one person, one form in an envelope at a time. Just an amazing last minute push.”
The new voters tended to be younger people, according to Allen, born sometime between 1978 and 1990, “That age group tends to be more mobile.”
Park Forester Kenneth Thomas says he likes early voting because it allows him more time to consider who he’s voting for, “especially for all them judges,” as opposed to rushing to vote in the morning before work. “It helps you just relax.”
Equipment Managers Roy Gutierrez and Corey Robinson were staffing early voting for Cook County in Park Forest Village Hall Wednesday. They report there have been just over 150 people voting a day. Numbers from the Cook County Clerk’s office confirm this: 171 people voted on Monday, 158 on Tuesday, and preliminary numbers indicated 124 had voted Wednesday.
Early voting continues at Park Forest Village Hall through October 30th for Cook County residents Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Saturdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Will County residents can vote in Village Hall Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Check these websites for more information:
This story will be updated with numbers from Will County as they become available.