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Voters Set New Record in Cook County

Cook County Clerk David Orr. Photo by Kate Iorio

Suburban Cook County voters set new records for all three types of pre-Election Day voting leading up to Tuesday’s Presidential Election, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Monday.

Nearly twice as many people registered and voted during the grace period, mail ballot applications surged 41 percent and Early Voting turnout surpassed the previous record set in 2008.

“More than a half a million Cook County voters-20 percent of all registered voters- have already voted,” Orr said. “Voters are enthusiastic about this election and have taken advantage of the many convenient options for casting a ballot.”

Early voting was five days shorter than 2008, yet 2,881 more suburban Cook County voters participated and the average daily turnout was 18,854 (versus 13,879 four years ago).

Chairman of the Board of Election Commissioners, Langdon Neal, said, “Tomorrow belongs to the voters.”

One of the key issues both Neal and Orr believe will be present tomorrow will be the change in voting area. 20 percent of voters will go to a new voting area tomorrow.

Langdon who predicts a strong turnout tomorrow on Election Day, stated, “Rebound in early voting turnout in Cook County is currently back up to the strongest number of voters in this election.”

Early voting turnout in suburban Cook County was greatest in the 2nd Congressional District (20 percent of registered voters), followed by the 7th (18.5 percent), 9th (18 percent) and 6th (17.9 percent). Thorton Township had the earliest voters and half of all early voters were age 55 and older.

The Clerk’s office processed more mail ballot applications this election than ever before, likely because voters no longer need an excuse to vote by mail. About 44,500 suburban Cook County voters applied for a mail ballot, up from 31,600 in 2008.

According to the Cook County Clerks records, another 15,000 Chicago voters and 20,000 suburban Cook County voters have applied and not yet returned their mail/absentee ballot.

Early voting in 2008 in Illinois was an 18-day program, however, in 2012 will be a 13-day program.

“Early voting was a big success,” Orr said, but, “if I had to guess, [tomorrow] will be a highly typical Election Day.”

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