Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on March 04, 2024
Chicago Expands Early Voting Access Ahead of Illinois Primary, Voters Engage Across Cook CountySource: Unsplash/Element5 Digital

The march towards the Illinois Primary Election on March 19 continues, with Chicago and surrounding counties broadening their early voting efforts. Starting this Monday, voters in the Windy City saw an expansion in early voting availability as sites opened in all 50 city wards. These supplementary options come on top of the already operating downtown supersites, as reported by CBS Chicago.

These new polling locations aim to provide greater accessibility and flexibility for voters, who can now also directly register at any early voting site. City officials are keenly optimistic, hoping to see a continued increase in voter turnout, especially since more than 2,700 early votes have already been cast—a noticeable surge from previous years, as per the same CBS report. Suburban Cook County residents aren't left behind, with 53 additional early voting spots opening up to join the party across the area.

Adding to the comprehensive coverage of early voting locales, NBC Chicago has provided a detailed voter's guide. This guide includes voting locations by county, ensuring that information is at the fingertips of citizens, whether they're from DeKalb, DuPage, or any other participating county. Several other regions, including Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, and more, are also revving up their efforts with additional sites opening on Monday.

While voters are ready to make everyone's voices heard, there's a shadow of uncertainty cast over the referendum known as "Bring Chicago Home." This measure, which could affect taxes on million-dollar property sales to aid the homeless, currently hangs in limbo. Although it still appears on the ballot, a Cook County judge's decision has rendered it invalid for now. "We can only follow orders from the court, and the court at this time has ordered us to not count those votes," Marisel Hernandez, chair of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, told CBS Chicago. Votes for this referendum will not be tallied unless the judicial ruling is overturned on appeal.

With the clock ticking down to the primary, election officials are thoroughly pushing to ensure a smooth and sizable turnout. Mailed ballots are also in the mix, with a substantial number of requests received by the Cook County Clerk's office. Voters have until March 14 to apply for a mail-in ballot, but it must be postmarked by Election Day to count. And for those preferring the traditional route, all early voting sites in the wards will remain open through March 18, and on Election Day, they'll run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., as CBS Chicago lists the details.