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Early voting off to a strong start in McHenry Co.

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(Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Russell Johnson, 75, and Rich Crosbie, 61, use electronic voting machines to cast their votes Monday at McHenry City Hall. “My mind is already made up. There’s no need to wait,” Crosbie said. Registered voters can electronically vote early at 10 county sites through Nov. 3.

Election judges had their hands full with early voting Monday – the first day Illinoisans could cast ballots in the Nov. 6 election.

Long lines greeted voters at stations across the county. Early voting kicked off in Illinois a week later than in years past.

“It’s wild out there,” McHenry County Clerk Kathy Schultz said. “People are standing in line. Early voting judges are getting flustered.”

Early voting would have opened Oct. 15 under old legislation. But the legislature in July passed a measure delayed the opening by a week in favor of allowing early voting to continue a couple of days longer. Early voting ends Nov. 3.

McHenry County has 10 stations that are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with some exceptions. The first week usually is slow and allows election judges a chance to ease into their jobs, Schultz said. No such luck this year.

“Because we lost that week before when it was slower, it’s really hectic out there,” Schultz said.

Schultz said the popularity of early voting is rising with each election. The state allowed early voting starting in March 2006, making this the second presidential election for early voters.

Schultz said that based on numbers from other states, Illinois expects that eventually early voters will account for one-third to one-half of all ballots cast in the state.

McHenry County residents can cast early ballots at the McHenry County Administration Building; Algonquin Township; Crystal Lake City Hall; Huntley Park District; Lake in the Hills Village Hall; McHenry City Hall; McHenry Township; Nunda Township; Dunham Township; and Marengo City Hall.

For information about specific times and days, visit the McHenry County Clerk’s website at www.co.mchenry.il.us/departments/countyclerk.

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