Voting running smoothly, at least in suburbs
Updated: November 6, 2012 3:54PM
A steady and significant number of voters have turned out to polling places in Cook County, but rain this afternoon and evening could hurt voter turnout.
Very few voters waited in line Tuesday but crowds were steady until after 9 a.m. when it began to taper off, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr, who was visiting polling places in the far west suburbs when reached on his cell phone.
Orr expects voter turnout in Cook County to be less than the 73.5 percent of four years ago, but thinks it will still be high.
“It is unclear if the rain will make voter turnout dip below 70 percent,” he said. “It’s been a standard and normal election with very few problems.”
Orr did encounter a woman who was upset that her 18-year-old son, who is in New York, was not able to vote for the first time.
“Due to Hurricane Sandy, the post office was not able to deliver his absentee ballot,” Orr said.
Orr was pleased there was a pool of polling judges available because college and high school students are participating.
“We didn’t lose too many judges this time,” he said. “Usually two weeks before an election we lose judges.”
Bob Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission, was expecting participation by the electorate to keep pace with levels seen in recent general elections.
“Looking at this election, and going back four and eight years ago, four years ago and eight years ago we had a 77 percent turnout, and I don’t see any reason why we won’t repeat that,” Saar said shortly after noon Tuesday.
Judges reported heavy turnouts when the polling places opened at 6 a.m., and a steady flow through the morning, Saar said.
By early Monday afternoon, the commission had counted 99,452 people having taken advantage of early voting and absentee ballot alternatives. Several thousand more came in after the Oct. 9 registration deadline to take part in grace period voting, where constituents register and vote at the same time. That could have eased things up for those casting ballots Tuesday.
Things were not going quite as smoothly in Chicago, where “unprecedented” traffic brought down the website for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on Tuesday morning.
The site remained down as of 2:15 p.m. The election board was working to redirect traffic to the State Board of Election site for voters searching for their polling places, spokesman James Allen said in a statement.
Tuesday’s election is the first since the once-a-decade redistricting shifted 20 percent of registered voters into different precincts.
Allen said information about voter turnout would be made available later Tuesday afternoon.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office has received calls from voters confused about where to vote due to redistricting, spokeswoman Maura Possley said. Voters are also looking for guidance on how to handle the two ballots that are being handed out at polling places.