Early voting opens for inmates at Cook County Jail

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Early voting began Saturday at the Cook County Jail.

Pre-trial detainees and felons who served their sentences were able to cast ballots. Cook County Jail is one of the few jails in the U.S. with polls on site.

Polls are open this weekend for the November election. Of the 5,400 inmates at the jail, about 3,000 have registered to vote.

In the past, inmates voted absentee — making the shuffling and ballots in and out of the facility cumbersome.

The jail became a polling precinct for the first time in the March primary.

Under a new Illinois law, all jails must ensure pre-trial detainees have the chance to vote. It directs counties with 3,000,000 or more residents to set up voting machines on site.

Early voting at the jail continues next weekend. Sheriff Tom Dart said he expects 50 percent turnout.

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