Early voting in Chicago begins with hundreds lining up at Loop Super Site

Thursday, October 1, 2020
Early voting line wraps around block in Chicago Loop
Hundreds lined up to cast their ballot in the 2020 presidential election as early voting began in Chicago Thursday morning.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds lined up in Chicago as early voting began Thursday morning at the Super Site in the Loop located at 191 N. Clark Street.

A line wrapped around an entire city block, but voters said the wait was only about 30 minutes to get in. Election judges said off-camera they have never seen anything like it.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rev. Jesse Jackson cast their ballots as well. While the Chicago Board of Elections has received over 450,000 requests for mail-in ballots, many decided to vote in person anyways.

"I want the satisfaction, like slamming a door or hanging up a telephone, to hit the submit button," Chicago voter Dwight Jambor said.

Many with mail-in ballots who don't want to risk using the postal service took advantage of the Loop early voting site's dropbox. Anyone dropping off mail-in ballots doesn't have to wait in line.

By midday, the dropbox was so full, it had to be emptied to make room for more ballots.

Once inside, the Super Site at Clark and Lake is pandemic ready. Social distancing is being enforced and people are required to wear masks.

It is the only location allowing early voting in the city right now, but early voting will expand to locations in all 50 wards on October 14th.

VOTE 2020: Election info for Illinois voting

Many voters said they're not confident about voting on Election Day.

"I'm thinking about today now and what I need to do to make sure that everything happens the way that I need for it to to say my vote counted," early voter Adonya Collins said.

While some voters prefer in-person voting, election officials have pushed mail-in ballots as a secure way to vote during the pandemic. And as long as it is postmarked by November 3, your vote will count.

As of Thursday, the Chicago Board of Elections reported more than 450,000 vote-by-mail applications. As of 9 a.m. Thursday, more than 8,000 had been returned.

The highest number of vote-by-mail ballots previously requested was during World War II, with 116,117 applications.

In Cook County, early voting begins at 69 W. Washington on October 7th. On October 19, early voting will expand to 53 suburban locations and a site at Union Station.

"These early voting sites will also have secured drop boxes, where voters can return their completed ballots in their signed, sealed delivered envelopes," said Marisel Hernandez, chair of the Chicago Board of Elections.

"We both have developed mail voting mechanisms for the mail ballot to be processed in the most efficient and safe manner," Cook County Deputy Clerk Ed Michalowski said.

While mail-in and early voting are encouraged, election officials are gearing up for day-of voting, too. In Chicago and suburban Cook County, thousands of election judges have signed on. There is also a possibility that sports arenas may be used as voting sites.

"We are still in talks to sports authorities to see what possibilities there can be to making voting more accessible," Hernandez said.

Be warned: it's a very long ballot this year. Election officials are asking voters to plan your vote, and you'll soon be able to find a sample ballot online.

And they're reminding voters to wear masks. If you don't have one, the Chicago Board of Elections will provide one.

See the safety protocols inside Chicago's Loop early voting super site as election officials work to make voting and registering to vote safe and accessible.

Locations & Hours for Early Voting

Starting Oct. 1 through Oct. 13 - only at the Loop Super Site

Loop Super Site at Clark & Lake - 191 N. Clark St.

Monday-Friday - 8:30 am-7 pm

Saturday-Sunday - 9 am-5 pm

Election Day, Nov. 3 - 6 am-7 pm

Starting Oct. 14 through Nov. 3 - All 50 wards

Early Voting sites in all 50 Wards - plus the Loop Super Site

Monday-Friday - 8:30 am-7 pm

Saturday-Sunday - 9 am-5 pm

Election Day, Nov. 3 - 6 am-7 pm

Loop Super Site at Clark & Lake - 191 N. Clark St.

Ward 1 - Goldblatts Building, 1615 W Chicago Ave.

Ward 2 - Ogden Elementary School, 24 W Walton St.

Ward 3 - Beethoven Elementary School, 25 W 47th St.

Ward 4 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, 4314 S Cottage Grove

Ward 5 - Ray Elementary School, 5631 S Kimbark Ave.

Ward 6 - Deneen Elementary School, 7257 S State St. (changed 9/29)

Ward 7 - Burnham Elementary School, 9928 S Crandon Ave.

Ward 8 - Olive Harvey College, 10001 S Woodlawn Ave.

Ward 9 - Curtis Elementary School, 32 E 115th St.

Ward 10 - Sadlowski Elementary School, 3930 E 105th St.

Ward 11 - Sheridan Elementary School, 533 W 27th St.

Ward 12 - Kelly High School, 4136 S California Ave.

Ward 13 - West Lawn Park, 4233 W 65th St.

Ward 14 - Edwards Elementary School, 4815 S Karlov Ave.

Ward 15 - Carson Elementary School, 5516 S Maplewood Ave.

Ward 16 - Lindblom Park, 6054 S Damen Ave.

Ward 17 - Southside High School, 7342 S Hoyne Ave.

Ward 18 - Carroll Elementary School, 2929 W 83rd St.

Ward 19 - Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W 111th St. (changed 9/25)

Ward 20 - Fiske Elementary School, 6020 S. Langley Ave. (changed 9/30)

Ward 21 - Turner - Drew Language Acad., 9300 S Princeton Ave.

Ward 22 - Ortiz De Dominguez Elementary School, 3000 S Lawndale Ave.

Ward 23 - Dore Elementary School, 7134 W 65th St. (changed 9/29)

Ward 24 - Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W Douglas Blvd.

Ward 25 - Jungman Elementary School, 1746 S Miller St.

Ward 26 - Casals Elementary School 3501, W Potomac Ave.

Ward 27 - Suder Elementary School, 2022 W Washington Blvd

Ward 28 - Westside Learning Center, 4624 W Madison St.

Ward 29 - Burbank Elementary School, 2035 N Mobile Ave.

Ward 30 - Lorca Elementary School, 3231 N Springfield Ave.

Ward 31 - Falconer Elementary School, 3020 N Lamon Ave.

Ward 32 - Pulaski Elementary School, 2230 W McLean Ave.

Ward 33 - Bateman Elementary School, 4220 N Richmond St.

Ward 34 - Dunne Elementary School, 10845 S Union Ave.

Ward 35 - NEIU El Centro, 3390 N Avondale Ave.

Ward 36 - Hanson Park Elementary School, 5411 W Fullerton Ave.

Ward 37 - McNair Elementary School, 4820 W Walton St.

Ward 38 - Hiawatha Park, 8029 W Forest Preserve Dr.

Ward 39 - Sauganash Elementary School, 6040 N Kilpatrick Ave.

Ward 40 - Mather High School, 5835 N Lincoln Ave.

Ward 41 - Oriole Park Elementary School, 5424 N Oketo Ave.

Ward 42 - Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

Ward 43 - Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N Orchard St.

Ward 44 - Inter American Elementary School, 851 W Waveland Ave.

Ward 45 - Hitch Elementary School, 5625 N McVicker Ave.

Ward 46 - Truman College, 1145 W Wilson Ave.

Ward 47 - Welles Park, 2333 W Sunnyside Ave.

Ward 48 - Broadway Armory, 5917 N Broadway

Ward 49 - New Field Elementary School, 1707 W Morse Ave.

Ward 50 - Warren Park, 6601 N Western Ave.