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Residents of western Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri will go to be the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6.The various ballots across the tri-state region feature races for governor, congress, and seats in state legislatures and county government.The news department at Tri States Public Radio has been talking to the candidates so you can be a more informed voter.

Early Voting Is Way Up In Illinois — Will Overall Turnout Surge, Too?

Illinois voters could cast a ballot more than a month before Election Day in select locations, like the Sangamon County Complex in Springfield.
Mary Hansen
/
NPR Illinois
Illinois voters could cast a ballot more than a month before Election Day in select locations, like the Sangamon County Complex in Springfield.

Illinois election officials say there’s been a huge spike in early voting this year. But it’s not yet clear just what that means.

Brian Mackey reports.

The Illinois State Board of Elections says more than 1.1 million people had already voted in Illinois as of Monday morning, either by mail or in person. That's up 45 percent over the last midterm election.

Illinois voters could cast a ballot more than a month before Election Day in select locations, like the Sangamon County Complex in Springfield.
Credit Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois
/
NPR Illinois
Illinois voters could cast a ballot more than a month before Election Day in select locations, like the Sangamon County Complex in Springfield.

But State Board spokesman Matt Dietrich says it’s too early to know whether those big numbers will translate into higher overall turnout.

“What could be happening here is you could see a huge influx of people who early vote or vote by mail before Election Day, and then there could be a corresponding drop-off on Election Day of people who actually go out to the polls. We just don’t know,” Dietrich says.

“The only way that we can read anything into it, or that we can interpret it, is if we see an increase in voter turnout after all the ballots are counted,” he says.

You can judge for yourself how crowded your local polling place is on Tuesday. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Copyright 2018 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Brian Mackey covers Illinois state government and politics from the WUIS Statehouse bureau. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He can be reached at (217) 206-6020.
Brian Mackey
Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.