Chicago early voting opens at 2 sites in Loop
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Early voting officially began in Chicago Friday for the 2022 midterm election, one day after Governor JB Pritzker and challenger Darren Baily squared off in their first televised debate.
Chicago early voting is only open at two locations in the Loop so far: the supersite location at Clark and Lake streets and at 69 West Washington Street on the sixth floor.
Edis Verbaker, 92, was the first in line at the early voting supersite on Clark and Lake, shielding herself from the rain.
"Well I prefer to vote early because it's more easy," Verbaker said. "It's less people, you know, and that way I can take my time."
A steady stream of people trickled into the supersite starting at 9 a.m. Christian Morris said he came to cast a ballot for human rights.
Marlene Taylor said it's what's at stake that has her casting her ballot as early voting begins in Chicago.
"It's not just for me, but the other especially the women that need to make their own decisions with their own body," Taylor said.
"This is 2022 going into 2023," Morris said. "Some people are trying to have us go back to 1922 and that's not the correct way."
With the midterm elections just over a month away, key contests, like the governor's race are fueling interest.
The gubernatorial race is top of the ballot. Thursday night, Governor JB Pritzker and Republican challenger Darren Bailey faced each other in their first televised debate.
There were several tense moments as the candidates traded insults and interrupted each other over several issues, including the Safe-T Act, gun control, taxes and abortion.
"Darren Bailey wants to eliminate a woman's right to choose, he wants to take away women's reproductive freedom," Pritzker said as Bailey talked over him.
"Illinois has the most permissive abortion laws in the nation. Nothing's going to change when I'm governor," Bailey claimed.
The debate has given voters a lot to think about.
"After watching about 15 seconds of the debate last night, I was, there was no question that debate last night was really affirming," said Michael Vogt.
The race for Illinois State Comptroller is one of several contested statewide races this year.
Incumbent Susana Mendoza is facing off against McHenry County auditor, Shannon Teresi.
The comptroller plays the important role of paying the state's bills. But a new republican-backed bill would combine the offices of comptroller and treasurer.
You can hear more from both candidates this Sunday on Our Chicago during our 8 a.m. newscast.
Meanwhile, Chicago Board of Elections officials are flagging voters about potential changes on November 8.
Nearly half of Chicago voters will have a newly assigned precinct polling place ahead of election day due to recent re-districting and a new city ward map.
"We are urging Chicago voters to make a plan to vote and to check their voter information ahead of time," Max Bever, director of Public information Chicago Board of Elections said. "Don't wait until the last second on November 8. Make a plan and vote today."
While early voting officially began Friday in the city, some Chicago area counties started allowing voters to cast their ballots last week.
Access will eventually increase to 22 early voting sites with 269 polling places being added on Election Day.
"We had 50 voters this morning, which is about 18% ahead of where we were four years ago," said DuPage County Chief Deputy Clerk Adam Johnson.
While it's unclear if the start of early voting will be reflective of the voter turnout to come, people like Arnell McGee say the privilege of voting is too important to miss.
"Step up and stop talking," she said.
More early sites will open by October 24 in all 50 wards.