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Early Voting Begins For Illinois Primary

Voters cast their ballots in suburban Chicago. (credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Voters cast their ballots in suburban Chicago. (credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 02/27/12 1:52 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Early voting began Monday in Illinois for the March 20 primary, but the Chicago Board of Elections is moving to make early voting not quite so early.

Whether it’s because people don’t make up their minds until later, or because they’re just plain procrastinators, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chairman Langdon Neal says the first week of the 18-day early voting period just doesn’t see much action.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports


“I think 10 to 11 days is probably enough time for the convenience of early voting still to be preserved for our voters and yet is an effective way to reduce our overall costs,” Neal said.

Neal says just shortening the early voting period in Chicago to 14 days would save some $500,000.

Neal says he will go to the state legislature to try to get a shorter early voting period approved.

Election officials say some days of early voting, a polling site staffed by four or five people will get only about 20 voters, which they say is a lot of staff for very few voters.

Chicago has 51 early voting sites, while suburban Cook County has 42. One of the Chicago locations, the Chicago Board of Elections at 69 W. Washington St., is open to both city and suburban voters.

Anyone can vote before the March 20 Election Day without giving a reason why. But they must bring a driver’s license or another government issued ID, such as passport or a military ID.

Voters also have to declare a party.

City and suburban locations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and many locations will have Sunday hours.

For Chicago locations, click here.

For suburban locations, click here.