CHICAGO (STMW) — Five days before election day, early voting and absentee ballots have already proved a popular choice in suburban Cook County.

Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Thursday that his office had processed more than 32,000 absentee applications and that more than 72,000 suburban Cook County voters cast early ballots, according to a release from the office of the Cook County Clerk.

READ MORE: Two Simeon High School Students, Both 15, Killed In Shootings Four Hours Apart

Both totals are more than twice the number of people who utilized each voting method in 2006, the release said. Wednesday had the largest early voter turnout, with 9,675 people casting ballots.

Voters older 65 made up 44 percent of all early voters, the release said. Women represented 53 percent of the early voting total. The deadline for early voting in Cook County is 5 p.m. Thursday.

READ MORE: Dolton Man, Kelvin Dortch Jr., Charged With Mail Theft After Mail From Park Ridge Recovered

Some absentee ballots were sent out late, according to Orr. But voters who don’t receive their absentee ballot in time for the absentee deadline can still vote in their home precinct on Tuesday.

Absentee ballots must be post-marked by Nov. 1 and received by Nov. 16, the release said.

MORE NEWS: SWAT Team On Scene On Division Street On Near North Side

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)