Early voting numbers rise heading towards November 8 elections

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Stateline residents flock to early voting sites ahead of the November 8 Election.

When Illinois permanently gave its residents the vote-by-mail option in August, opponents worried there were too many chances for error.

However, Winnebago County Clerk Lori Gummow and Boone County Clerk Julie Bliss report no major hiccups as more people across the state choose that way to cast their ballot.

“We’ve seen a lot of ballots that have gone out, we’re still expecting thousands of ballots to come back before election day,” said Gummow.

When comparing early voting numbers to the 2018 Midterm elections, voter turnout in the stateline is rising. Bliss and Gummow attribute the increase to this permanent vote-by-mail option.

“We had about a little over 3400 people who voted early or voted by mail {in 2018}, and we’re around 3700 now,” Bliss said.

Illinoisans have until Thursday, November 3 to request a vote-by-mail ballot if they want to get it out of the way before November 8.

“I highly recommend that you don’t wait that long if you’re gonna request a ballot to be mailed to your home. We don’t want you to miss that opportunity to be able to cast your vote for this very important election,” Gummow told 23 News.

Bliss says early voting can also eliminate panic on election day, like forgetting your polling location. Plus, local election workers in your county clerk’s office can give you more individualized attention.

“A lot of people were confused on where they’re supposed to go for voting on election day, so I just wanna encourage everyone who received a new voter card this spring to make sure they read it,” said Bliss. “Check ahead to make sure where they’re supposed to go because some locations change for some of our voters.”

Bliss expects turnout in Boone County to rise by about 5 percent from the 2018 election. That year the country saw 55% voter turnout, this year she’s hoping to hit 60%.