* Early voting increases every year as people figure out they can do it. Some folks see it as a sign of intensity, and that could be true, too. But there’s a natural trend here…
In Chicago alone, 17,493 voters had already cast ballots as of about 5:30 p.m. Monday, on the first day of expanded early voting. That beats a city record of 15,000 early voters on Day One in 2012, according to Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen. Another 22,000 voters have already voted early — as Chicago voters were able to vote at a “super site” in the Loop beginning on Sept. 29. That marks the earliest early voting had begun before an election in Illinois.
* This, however, could be more significant…
Illinois also had more than 7.9 million active registered voters as of Monday — beating the state’s previous high total of 7.8 million registered voters in the 2008 election during Barack Obama’s first presidential election, according to Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Jim Tenuto
OK, that shows intensity.
* And it turns out that Chicago accounts for most of that net state increase since 2008. According to the city elections board this morning, 1.497 million Chicago voters were registered in 2008. As of a week ago, the city was at 1.570 million registered voters.
The city’s elections board spokesman Jim Allen said his office processed “several thousand” online voter registrations over the weekend, which aren’t included in those totals. Allen also pointed out that there’s still a lot of time for voters to register, including grace period and election day. He estimates that the city has seen a net gain of 100,000 registered voters since early August. That number, of course, doesn’t include people who have changed their registration after they’ve moved.
Keep in mind that Chicago’s population has not significantly increased during that same time period.
* Back to the Sun-Times…
In DuPage County, which typically leans Republican, 9,272 ballots have been mailed in, with just three voters using early voting. In Lake County, which also has a conservative tilt, 1,619 have early voted, with 10,742 mail in ballots already received of 31,976 requested.
Keep in mind, however, that Barack Obama won DuPage and Lake counties the last two cycles.
* More from the Chicago elections board…
Vote By Mail numbers are up: over 76,000 applications and more than 13,000 returned. That’s far many more applications to Vote By Mail in either 2008 or 2012.
Again, this could be a sign of intensity, but part of it could be that people are figuring out they can vote early and shut off the madness while they await the 2016 Sweet Meteor of Death.
…Adding… Press release…
A record number of suburban Cook County voters took advantage of the first day of Early Voting on Monday, shattering all previous marks for the day.
On Monday, 25,579 suburban Cook County residents voted throughout the 52 Early Voting sites in suburban Cook County and at Cook County Clerk David Orr’s downtown Chicago office. An additional 838 people registered and voted through Grace Period registration.
The previous record for the first day of Early Voting was set in the 2012 Presidential Election, when 13,779 suburban Cook County voters cast their ballots on Oct. 22, 2012.
“This is an incredible testament to the rising popularity of Early Voting,” Cook County Clerk David Orr said. “Whether it’s voting early at one of our 52 sites throughout Cook County, or voting from the comfort of home via a mail-in ballot, Cook County voters appreciate the options they have. There are contests and initiatives up and down the ballot that are generating a lot of interest from voters, who obviously want to make sure their votes are cast.”