Voters eager to get their ballots in early headed to their local county clerk’s offices Thursday to cast their votes.
Illinois voters will elect a governor and other statewide officeholders as well as state and federal representatives, county board members and countywide officials. Election Day is Nov. 8, but voters can cast their ballot early in person or vote early through with a vote by mail ballot.
“We’re hoping that the voters are excited because it’s important,” Cook County Deputy Clerk of Elections Edmund Michalowski said of the November election.
In-person early voting started in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties on Thursday. Suburban Cook County voters will have to wait until Oct. 12 for in-person early voting.
In Lake County, early voting started Thursday afternoon around 1 pm due to a technical glitch. Lake County Clerk Robin O’Connor said she had to turn away about 20 voters Thursday morning because of the delay. Those voters were offered applications for mail-in ballots or told to return at a later day or time.
She said the Illinois State Board of Elections did not sign off on certifying the ballots until Sept. 19. The county needs final certification before starting any ballot proofing or checking election systems, O’Connor said.
Then, the county’s election software system did not properly import the data and county clerk employees had to input the data manually, delaying the start of early voting.
“I would rather get it right than rushed,” O’Connor said. “Accuracy is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the election process.”
O’Connor, a Libertyville Republican seeking a second term, came under fire from her opponent, Anthony Vega, who said he received calls from voters who went to vote Thursday but were unable to do so.
“Instead of informing the public of needing to delay the opening of the Clerk’s Office early vote polling location, voters are left with no information about when they will be able to cast their ballots in the 2022 General Election,” Vega said in a new release .
The Lake County clerk’s Facebook page made no mention of the delay Thursday. A post from Wednesday announced the start of early voting.
“We will be posting something,” O’Connor said in an interview before 1 pm Thursday, adding that she and her staff have been focused on fixing the delay to early voting. “We will be expecting early voting to continue.”
In Lake, McHenry and Will counties, voters can head to the county clerk’s office for in-person early voting.
In DuPage County, early voting is available at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 W. Manchester Road, Building 2, in Wheaton. Kane County voters can go to the county clerk’s office at 719 S. Batavia Ave. in Geneva or the satellite office in Aurora at 5 E. Downer Place, Suite F, in Aurora.
Early voting also will be available at the Lake County clerk’s office at 18 N. County St. in Waukegan.
In suburban Cook County, in-person early voting will be available starting Oct. 12 at suburban courthouses, Union Station and the Cook County clerk’s office at 69 W. Washington St. in Chicago. Union Station will serve as a super site, giving suburban Cook County commuters a chance to vote when it’s convenient to them.
“It’s been helpful for people who are in a rush to get home,” Michalowski said.
On Oct. 24, county clerks will open additional early voting locations throughout their respective counties.
During the primary election in June, DuPage County began using a new system that allows on-demand printing of ballots at each polling place. The new system means DuPage voters can go to any voting site open on Election Day to cast their ballot.
For additional information about in-person early voting or vote by mail, visit your local county clerk’s website.