socastcmsRssStartBy Greg Bishop | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
Early voting for the upcoming midterm election in Illinois has already eclipsed that of the 2014 midterm statewide, but just what that means for overall turnout is to be determined.
The Illinois State Board of Elections said nearly 840,000 early votes for the Nov. 6 midterm election have already been cast. That’s nearly 50,000 more than during early voting for the 2014 midterm, and keeping pace with the early voting totals from the 2016 presidential election.
Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray, who’s running unopposed for another term, said the office had more than 8,000 early votes cast so far. If early voting continues at that pace, the early turnout numbers could be up by 55 percent or more.
Logan County Clerk Sally Turner, who’s retiring after this term, said early votes may not necessarily translate into higher total turnout.
“In Logan County, what we’ve recognized since we’ve started early voting is that these are the recyclable voters, so the same voters that would have gone to the polls,” Turner said. “So we don’t ever really see a huge increase in new voters, we see the same voters taking advantage of different ways to vote.”
Turner’s office as of Friday had 721 early voters.
Gray said there’s more of an increase of mail-in ballot requests in Sangamon County.
“A 155 percent increase since the last [midterm] in ‘14,” Gray said. “Really both [early voting and mail in voting] are on pace to be the equivalent of what we would see in a presidential year and that has not been witnessed in Illinois in a very long time. I speak to my colleagues statewide and they’re all experiencing the same thing. From northern Illinois, to central, to southern Illinois it’s been an interesting, unique, highly participated election so far in early vote.”
As of Thursday morning, Gray said more than 5,700 ballots have been sent. Nearly 3,000 more have yet to be returned.
Turner said she has seen an increase in mail-in ballots in Logan County, more than 600 were sent. As of Thursday morning they’ve gotten back 437.
Unregistered voters can register and vote up to and on election day at their county elections office.