The state of Illinois has more registered voters than ever before, with numbers approaching 8 million, blowing past the high of 7.79 million set in the 2008 election, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Early voting and requests for mail-in ballots are surging throughout the state said Jim Tenuto, ISBE spokesperson, although it’s hard to compare exact numbers to previous elections, where start dates were different.
Statewide, the ISBE reported 341,748 early voters had already cast ballots by Oct. 25. Local election authorities had sent out 419,789 mail-in ballots statewide two weeks from the election, and of those 134,051 had already been returned, Tenuto said.
Even though voter registration was officially closed online on Oct. 23, voters may use “Grace Period” registration — and vote — until Election Day.
Voters can register at locations designated by election authorities, including at many precincts on Nov. 8. As of the end of last week, 9,611 voters had taken advantage of grace-period registration, according to the State Board of Elections website. In Cook County, the first day of early voting Oct. 24 broke all past records, according to Clerk David Orr.
Monday, 25,579 suburban Cook County residents voted throughout the 52 Early Voting sites, Orr’s website said. By the end of the week, that number had risen to 92,817 votes cast.
As for mail voting, almost 100,000 mail ballots had been requested by Oct. 27, Orr’s office said in a statement. Of those, 22,755, or around 25 percent had been returned to the clerk’s office.
“What we’re seeing with this election is intense interest in many contests, from the Presidential race to races for U.S. Senate, Congress as well as statewide and countywide contests,” Orr said. “Additionally, voters want to make sure that they don’t encounter Election Day lines at the polls,” Orr said in a statement.
The Illinois State Board of Elections is updating early voter numbers sorted by election authority daily on their website at http://www.elections.il.gov.
— Record number of Illinois registered voters nears 8 million —