CHICAGO (CBS) — A record number of voters have taken advantage of early voting and absentee ballots in Chicago and suburban Cook County, ahead of the General Election on Tuesday.

Cook County Clerk said a county of early votes, absentee ballots, and grace period voting – which allows voters to register after the normal 28-day deadline before an election, and still cast a ballot – was far higher this year than the last governor’s race in 2010.

“Overall, for us in suburban Cook, 169,000-plus have already voted,” Cook County Clerk David Orr said. “That’s a 53 percent increase over 2010.”

In Chicago, figures also were up significantly over 2010, up 35 percent from four years ago – from 112,000 to 151,000.

Election officials said they can’t tell if it will mean an unusually high turnout on Election Day as well.

“We hope that’s an indication that we’ll … surpass where we were four years ago – which was a 53 percent turnout in the city of Chicago,” Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chairman Langdon Neal said.

He said high early voting numbers might mean intense interest in this election, or an interest in getting it over with early to avoid possible lines at the polls on Election Day.