CHICAGO (CBS) — Early voting was in full swing across the Chicago area on Monday, with dozens of polling places open for voters to cast ballots in the upcoming primary elections.
The city’s new early voting super site in the Loop is at 16 W. Adams St. That location and 50 others across the city will be open every day through March 19.
Another 53 polling places in suburban Cook County opened on Monday; along with 15 in Lake County, 13 in Kane County, 11 in DuPage County, 17 in Will County, and 10 in McHenry County.
Election officials have encouraged people to take advantage of early voting, to increase turnout and decrease wait times on Election Day.
“I figure because on Election Day the lines are usually much longer, I figured since we had early voting I’d just go ahead and get it out of the way,” Bradie Calhoun said after voting early downtown.
Some sites in the city allowed people to begin casting ballots last month, so 718 ballots already have been cast in suburban Cook County.
Illinois doesn’t require that people give a reason to vote early, and same-day voter registration is available for those who haven’t registered yet.
Races on the ballot for the March 20 primary include for Illinois governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and comptroller; Cook County’s board of commissioners, board president, assessor, clerk, and treasurer; along with all of the state’s Congressional seats, all 118 Illinois House seats, and 39 of the 59 Illinois Senate seats.
During the last governor’s race in 2014, approximately 16 percent of people voted early, and officials said there could be higher early turnout this year.
“We think that, given the hotly contested races, that we are going to see a higher turnout. We don’t know yet how high,” Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chairwoman Marisel Hernandez said.