Monday was the first day of early voting in Illinois, and election officials say that so many people are showing up that they had to actually bring in extra help to handle all of the crowds. Voters waited in long lines to cast their ballots.
The voting started before the third and final debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney Monday night.
Local election officials say they hope a quarter of this year's ballots will be cast before Election Day. If so, records set in 2008 for early voting could be broken.
Regarding the first day of early voting, the Cook County Board of Elections and the Chicago Board of Elections say the numbers are as follows:
In suburban Cook County, 13,500 ballots were cast Monday. In 2008, that number was about 7,700. In the city of Chicago Monday, 15,711 votes were placed. In 2008, it was 11,749.
Dozens of early voting sites are up and running across the Chicago area. For a list of locations, Chicago residents should visit chicagoelections.com, and suburban Cook County residents should visit www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/earlyvoting.
Early voting ends November 3, which is the Saturday before Election Day Tuesday, November 6.