Early voting ends, absentee ballots due Nov. 1

October 28, 2010 3:24:12 PM PDT
Nearly 80,000 suburban Cook County voters have already cast ballots in the midterm election-- and city numbers are way up, too.

Despite a wait of almost an hour at some times, early voting- which ended Thursday- continues to grow in popularity this year.

"This is more convenient 'cause I can go in the middle of the day and not rearrange my schedule," said Rhonda Washington, early voter.

Besides early voting, the November 2010 election marks the first time voters can vote absentee without verifying a reason. Absentee numbers, as a consequence are up. However, the plan has had some big glitches. Political parties and civic groups have sent out applications for absentee ballots and some have

  • outdated voter information,
  • wrong or confusing return addresses,
  • and thousands are very late in arriving.
  • Some applications came in the mail just Wednesday, which makes for a very late turnaround; an absentee ballot that must be postmarked no later than November first.

    "If there's any doubt we say throw it out and simply vote on Election Day or if you can come to our office this weekend and vote in person if you can't vote on Election Day," said Langdon Neal, chairman Board of Election commissioners.

    Early voting and no excuse absentee voting are meant to increase involvement and despite the glitches, election officials are excited about both. But they don't think the usual 50-percent turnout for a non-presidential election will change much on Tuesday.

    "I think the misuse of money in our system is destroying our democracy and I'm serious about that," said Cook County Clerk David Orr, letting loose some of his long-held frustration with money in politics. "We used to say the only problem with voting early was what if something changed? What if somebody got indicted? Well now people say, 'Boy I'm glad I voted early cause I can turn the darn TV off and stop listening to these horrible ads.' We don't have an answer for that."

    "I feel like I can't believe anything on these commercials 'cause they don't even identify whose supporting. They give you phony names like Americans for Truth Justice and apple pie, and I mean who knows who's sponsoring these things" said Anne Geyer.

    There are, to be sure, many reasons for lower-than-desired voter turnout and they go beyond irritation with attack ads on TV. Many voters just aren't enthused with their choices, and as a consequence, won't vote.

    As for the glitches in the no-excuse absentee voting, there will be plenty of post election changes. It doesn't make sense when time is of the essence to have an absentee ballot sent to a PO box instead straight to the Board of Elections.


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