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Heavy early voting turnout in city, suburban Cook County

Updated: November 3, 2012 4:13PM

Even though there are four fewer days in the Early Voting period this year than there were for the 2008 presidential election, nearly as many Chicago Early Voting ballots have been cast, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen said Saturday afternoon that the line for Grace Period registration/voting stretched out the door of 69 W. Washington, around the building and down Dearborn Street to Madison Street. “The number of these ‘true procrastinators’ will shatter the record numbers we saw during the Grace Period program of 2008,” he said.

Elsewhere, at the Early Voting sites, Chicago voters were on pace to cast well over 28,000 ballots in Saturday Early Voting, after casting about 25,300 in Early Voting on Friday, Allen said in a release. The city was on pace to see a total of more than 240,000 ballots cast in Early Voting by the close of the program Saturday.

That’s nearly as many Early Voting ballots as were cast in 2008, even though this year’s Early Voting program runs 14 days, compared to 18 days of Early Voting in 2008, according to Allen.

Both Early Voting and Grace Period Registration/Voting end Saturday. The sites will remain open however long it takes to process any person in line by 5 p.m.

In suburban Cook County, more than 220,000 people had cast early ballots, according to County Clerk David Orr’s office. As of about 3 p.m. Saturday, about 220,100 Early Voting ballots had been cast by suburban Cook voters. On Saturday alone, up until about 3 p.m., approximately 19,035 ballots had been cast, according to Orr’s office.

Suburban Early Voting sites are also open until 5 p.m. “This is the first time Early Voting extends through the Friday and Saturday before the election and we are anticipating a busy push to the finish,” Orr said.

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