Election 2012 campaigns enter final weekend

November 2, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Samuel Francis is one of many in DuPage County turning out to vote early.

"I think it's very important," he said. "The way the economy is going the way everything else is going."

The surge can be seen at all of the county's 12 sites and comes just days before the 2012 presidential election.

"The people are excited about this election," said DuPage County election commission executive Joe Sobecki. "They are coming here and they want to vote."

It is expected that voter participation will rival that of 2008.

Dupage County election officials say since early voting began on October 22, 63,512 votes have been cast, it is expected about 40,000 will vote by mail and in 2008, that number was just 12,000.

Absentee ballots have increased too, as well as those using the grace period to re-register to vote.

"Our country is locked between two different places so it's important everyone gets out and votes," said early voter Christina Carey.

While it wasn't one of the busiest, lines were long at the early voting site at Oak Park's Village Hall.

"Everyone's trying to make a difference, so they want to get out early, get their vote in," said early voter Monica Harris.

Cook County Clerk David Orr said by the time early voting ends Friday turnout could be above the roughly 226,000 seen four years ago.

"Between voting early this way and by mail, they'll be more people who vote before Election Day than ever before," said Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Pundits say that's because of a push by both candidates to capture committed voters. One poll says 50 percent of votes cast will be cast before Election Day.

"Experts say the early voting is helping Obama because those are his voters," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

Local officials and the justice department plan to monitor polling places for election fraud.

University of Illinois political science professor Dick Simpson said the voting process is still vulnerable in this computer age.

"I don't expect this election to be stolen at any level, but it is always possible," he said.

Cook County election officials say that 25,000 early votes were cast on Friday. They say all they need is 25,000 more early votes to be cast Saturday to break the record set in 2008.

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