Early voting sets records in Ill., Ind.

October 31, 2008 4:55:27 AM PDT
While early voting has been extended in Indiana, it ended in Illinois on Thursday. There were long lines at many early voting sites but that did not discourage voters. There were a record number of early voters this year in Illinois and Indiana.

"I am just excited. This is my first time voting so it really means something," said Royalene Wilson, first time voter.

Many people who voted early say they don't mind long waits because of what this election symbolizes.

"The irony in this election is that in the past it has definitely been about voter apathy. This year it is about voter excitement," said James Muhammad, Service Employees International Union.

There are a record number of people voting around the country, including in northwest Indiana. More than 400,000 voters in Indiana have already cast their ballot, including more than 30,000 in Lake County.

Because of the high turnout, many polling places are dealing with long lines. At one voting place in Hammond, voters had to wait hours to cast their ballots because they only had two machines.

"I don't even know how long the line was but it was worth the wait. It is worth it. It is a big election," said Larry Henderson, early voter.

Early voting in Indiana has been extended to Monday at noon so people still have a few days to vote early.

In Illinois, early voting is over. In Cook County, nearly a half million people took advantage of it. More than 285,000 people voted in collar counties.

"I call it our Disney World line because you know how they have it go back and forth, they just keep moving," said Debbie Clewlow, volunteer.

In Lake County, of more than 400,000 registered voters, more than 83,000 voted early. In McHenry County, there are about 200,000 registered voters - more than 23,000 voted early. In DuPage, there are well more than half a million registered voters - about 96,000 of them voted early. And in Kendall County, of the roughly 65,000 registered voters, more than 5,000 have already cast their ballots. In Kane County, 52,000 voted, and in Will County, 31,000 voted early.

In Cook County, there were 51 early voting sites, one in each ward and one at the clerk's main office at 69 West Washington.

On election night, ABC7 News will have live updates throughout the evening. We'll also have continuous results and live webcasts on abc7chicago.com.


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