Early voting for this year’s general election ends Monday and it’s certain to exceed previous years, largely due to an extended voting period and longer polling hours.
The Chicago Board of Elections reports that through Sunday that 284,506 early ballots had been cast, a new record. On Sunday, 22,904 early votes were made, compared to the previous Sunday record, just a week earlier, when there were 11,946 early votes cast.
The previous record for early votes in Chicago was 260,378 ballots, cast in the 2008 presidential election when hometown presidential candidate Barack Obama was first seeking the White House. Four years later, for Obama’s re-election, the total fell slightly to 243,107 early ballots.
The early voting figure for Chicago this general election is about 9 percent greater than 2008.
In suburban Cook County, 315,875 early votes had been cast through mid-afternoon Sunday, County Clerk David Orr’s office website showed. That compares to 228,695 early ballots cast in the 2012 presidential election and 226,084 in the 2008 White House voting.
Overall statewide numbers, reflecting weekend early voting, were not available from the State Board of Elections.
Election officials have cautioned that early voting numbers do not necessarily reflect enthusiasm or high turnout since the procedure is so well accepted that it may substitute for ballots that would normally be cast on Election Day.
Voter registration in the state stands at more than 8 million, but under a new state law, voters seeking to register for the first time or to update their registration status may do so through Election Day. Still, election officials suggest to avoid problems and lines, anyone seeking to register do so on Monday and not Election Day.
There were some reports of long lines on Sunday, including in the western suburbs. Orr’s office said suburban Cook locations would be open until at least 5 p.m. Monday and provided a map of the sites. (Rick Pearson)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel will make an announcement about downtown building construction at noon.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner’s public schedule was not available.
*The Chicago City Council Finance Committee meets at 10 a.m. to consider the revenue ordinance for the mayor’s 2017 budget. That includes the airport parking fee hikes, 7-cent bag fee and surge parking meter pricing at Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.
*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson hosted a pre-election roundtable featuring David Yepsen, retired director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; former state Republican Chairman Pat Brady; and Bob Secter, director of investigations at the Better Government Association. Sunday Spin airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720. Listen to the full show here.
Follow the money
*Republican Michelle Smith of Plainfield got another $135,000 from the Illinois Republican Party for her challenge of Democratic Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Shorewood.
*The Illinois Republican Party spent another $103,827 on mail for freshman Rep. Christine Winger of Wood Dale, who’s being challenged by Democrat Cynthia Borbas of Carol Stream.
*Democrats, meanwhile, spent more than $30,000each to boost Rep. Kate Cloonen of Kankakee (challenged by GOP-backed Lindsay Parkhurst) and Mike Mathis, who’s challenging appointed Rep. Avery Bourne of Downstate Raymond.