Early voting lagging as Tuesday’s primaries near, officials say

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners want to make sure Chicagoans’ votes are cast in time for the primary Tuesday.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file photo

With only a few days left before the primary election Tuesday, the Chicago Board of Election commissioners says early-voting turnout has been low and are urging Chicagoans to make sure their votes are counted.

Max Bever, a spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Elections, said Chicago residents as of Thursday have cast 25,215 early-vote ballots compared to the 51,125 early-vote ballots cast six days ahead of the 2018 primary election — the last gubernatorial race — and 36,113 votes in the 2014 primary, the previous governor’s race. There are 1,498,813 registered voters in the city of Chicago, according to the Board of Election Commissioners.

Chicago Board of Elections chair Marisel Hernandez, in a news conference held Thursday, said more than 124,000 vote-by-mail ballot applications have been sent by the Board of Elections, and 36,078 of those ballots had been returned as of Thursday.

Illinois primary elections in the past were earlier in the year, around March, but last year state lawmakers agreed to push the date back to June 28. Hernandez said that could account for low early-vote numbers in this primary.

“Voters have other issues on their mind, kids are out of school for the summer or they’re planning vacations,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we’ve been trying to get the word out as to why early voting is so convenient.”

Hernandez expects to see a surge of early voters coming out in the next few days to make sure their ballots are cast, something she says is typical of midterm elections.

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This close to the election, voters are now urged to carry mail-in ballots to the Secure Drop Box at the Supersite at 191 N. Clark St. or any of the 50 early-voting sites located in wards around the city. Ballots can also be dropped off at Election Board offices at 69 W. Washington St.

Early voting is still also available in all 50 wards and the Supersite in Chicago, and they are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are also open on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“A voter can choose to vote at any early voting site that’s convenient to them, no matter where they live within the city of Chicago,” Hernandez said. “Choose what’s easiest for you, and you can vote on the spot.”

For more information, go to chicagoelections.gov.

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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