CHICAGO — Early voting is underway in Chicago at the downtown Super Site.
The Chicago Election Board says they are ready for a huge turnout due to the interest in the presidential race, as well as being prepared to keep voters safe.
The Loop Super Site polling location, 191 N. Clark St., opened at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Election officials are encouraging everyone to vote early or by mail.
In addition to the safety precautions taken, everyone who chooses to vote in-person will need to wear a mask. If you don’t have one with you, a mask will be provided by an election judge.
The Board of Elections chairperson also says they have had a record number of people wanting to be election judges, but they still need a few thousand more.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson led a march to the polls and dozens of people joined him to vote at the Loop Super Site. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel was also spotted in line.
“The turnout says that people want to express not just their opinion but they want to express their citizenship this is not the only thing you can do but an essential thing to express their citizenship,” he said.
When talking with voters at the Loop, many saif they had concerns about voting by mail, which led them to want to vote early and in person.
“I’m terrified about what’s the president is going to do with all our ballots so I wanted to be sure it got counted,” Julie Jacobson, an early voter, said.
“For me, it’s a threat,” Raymond Hosch, an early voter, said. “Therefore I feel like it’s a necessitated. The action I’ve taken which is to come out and vote in person.”
During a presidential race, the Chicago Board of Elections always expects a big turnout, but this year could break records. Officials saying mail in ballot requests are the highest ever.
So far, voters say things seem to be going smoothly, and that despite being in the middle of a pandemic, they feel safe.
The Board of Elections is following all CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, spreading out poll booths, and providing masks for those who arrive without one.
If you requested to vote by mail but then change your mind, you have to bring that mail in ballot with you and surrender it to an election official.
The State of Illinois reports nearly two million residents have already requested to vote by mail.
Early voting expands to the wards on Oct. 14. For suburban Cook County voters can cast their ballots starting on Oct. 7, and early voting expands on Oct. 19.
For the first time this year, there will be polling places at Union Station and all suburban courthouses. Even on Election Day, you can cast your ballot there regardless of your assigned polling place.
If you are voting by mail and do not feel comfortable mailing your ballot, there will be secure ballot drop boxes at early voting locations.