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SYCAMORE – Early voting has become a lot more popular during the current general election and vote by mail ballots already have far exceeded previous years’ totals in DeKalb County.
DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson said Thursday there have been 4,140 early voting ballots completed so far for the Nov. 3 election. He said there were 9,156 total early voting ballots cast for the 2016 general election and 8,530 total ballots for the 2018 general election.
“It’s ahead of pace, definitely,” Johnson said.
With everything going on in the world, Johnson said, he has noticed everyone wanting to get voting done. He said that came amid concern about how voting was going to be done during the COVID-19 pandemic and baseless conspiracies about voting by mail.
“We have been busier,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he still expects the early voting pace to significantly pick up in the final two weeks before the election, per usual. He said that usually comes with the territory, with early voting locations opening on Monday at the DeKalb Township Building, 2323 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb; Northern Illinois University Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave. in DeKalb, at the Gallery Lounge on the main floor; Kirkland Village Hall, 511 W. Main St. in Kirkland; and the Sandwich Fire Station, 310 E. Railroad St. in Sandwich.
Johnson said his office has already been getting phone calls about when those early voting polling places open.
“I think the first few days will be busy at all those sites as well,” Johnson said.
Johnson said there have been 6,449 vote by mail ballots cast so far for the current election. He said that’s already a 398% increase for 2016 – which had a total of 1,296 vote by mail ballots – and a 296% increase from 2018, which was a total of 1,629.
Johnson said he thinks this year’s numbers are great. He said that this election is finally bringing the vote by mail and early voting usage the office would like to see.
Johnson said people using early voting and vote by mail relieves the usual pressure of Election Day ballot counting. For the people that are concerned about going to polls on Election Day, he said, this year’s early voting and vote by mail numbers should alleviate some of that concern.
“One of the pluses is that this means there should be less people going to the polls,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that, as a reminder, the office is providing face masks, barriers and other sanitation supplies, with the face masks being available for voters that might not have brought their own, along with clerk staff and election judges.
Johnson also wanted to remind voters that Barb City Manor Retirement Home, 680 Haish Blvd. in DeKalb, and Oak Crest Retirement Center, 2944 Greenwood Acres Drive in DeKalb, are not polling places for this Election Day due to the pandemic. He said all voters that normally would go to those locations should have gotten new ID cards and voters are urged to call the office or look up their polling place on the clerk’s website if anyone wants to double-check their voting location.
The early voting schedule for various DeKalb County locations can be found on the county clerk’s website.
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