CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois residents registered to vote for the Nov. 6 general election began casting their ballots Monday at early voting locations.

In Chicago, election officials said 15,711 ballots were cast Monday – easily exceeding the same day in 2008, when 11,749 early voting ballots were cast on the first day.

In Oak Park, there were long lines and long waits, after big crowds and technical problems with coding machines slowed things down.

“I figure this is the best way to beat the crowd. But I didn’t know there was going to be a crowd here today,” Geneva McCall told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.

Some voters gave up and left. By afternoon, wait times were still half an hour.

The crowds come no surprise to village officials.

“I do encourage people not to wait until the last couple of days because I’m sure it will be like this and maybe even busier,” Village Clerk Teresa Powell said.

The city of Chicago’s 51 early voting locations will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday through Nov. 3. Locations at The Board of Election Commissioners, Welles Park and Mount Greenwood Park will also be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Voters can use any of the early voting locations and do not need to provide a reason for casting their ballots in advance.

Voters must provide a valid government-issued photo identification and will not be able to change their ballot once it is cast.

Chicagoans can find their nearest early voting location at For a list of suburban locations, click here.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schelsinger Reports

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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