According to the Pioneer Press, early voting has started with a record turnout. Pioneer Press reporter Liza Roche writes that Record voter turnout is predicted on Nov. 4 and Cook County Clerk David Orr said his office is ready for it.
Orr's office tallied more than 1.4 million registered voters in suburban Cook County, with still more new voter applications to process.
"We're clearly breaking records," he said.
That was the case on Monday, the first day of early voting. Orr's office reported a total of 7,689 votes cast on Monday, compared to 1,591 on the first day of early voting before the Feb. 5 primary.
The previous one-day record was 7,497, set on Jan. 31, the last day of early voting before the primary. The office also reported that in the first 90 minutes of early voting on Monday, 1,086 suburban Cook voters cast ballots.
More and more voters are showing a support for touchscreen voting terminals, Orr said. Waiting lines for the touchscreen devices could result at times, but Orr noted that voters can always use the more traditional paper ballots.
And the county clerk noted that thanks to an investigation and subsequent improvements, the slow uploading of voter returns that the public endured in 2006 should be history. Expect to see most returns reported around 7:30 p.m. or 7:45 p.m., he said.
Of course, polling places can't run themselves. Orr said so far his office is happy with the amount of volunteers it has trained for Nov. 4. In the past, some volunteers have fallen away from their duties a week or so before election day, but Orr said the office is working to mitigate those sort of problems by keeping some volunteers for the sheer purpose of heading to under-staffed polling places.
Special attention has been paid to training volunteers as equipment managers, or "EMs" as they are called at polling places. The office's idea is that by having more people trained to trouble-shoot the machines, Nov. 4 should go relatively smoothly.
The easiest way to avoid Election Day worries is to vote early. This spring's election brought a record number of early voters in suburban Cook County, and those numbers are only expected to grow this month.
Sites are typically open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Some sites offer early voting hours on Sundays, as well. A complete list can be found at: www.voterinfonet.com
For those voting on Election Day, Orr suggests heading to the polls between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
"The bigger lines tend to be after 4 p.m. when people come after work," he said.