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Early voting steady so far

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

Only a few hundred people have taken advantage of early or absentee voting in Lee and Whiteside counties ahead of the April 9 election, county clerks said.

As of late Wednesday morning, in Whiteside County, 125 people had voted, either by mail or in person, Clerk Dana Nelson said.

Four years ago, the last time township races were on the ballot, 450 people voted early or absentee, Nelson said. Two years ago, when voter turnout was “poor,” only 170 people voted early or absentee, she said.

Nelson hopes voter turnout resembles that of 4 years ago. But she could not say whether those who so far have voted have put the county on pace for a decent turnout.

“I’m hopeful,” Nelson said. “People have plenty of opportunities to vote.”

As of about the same time Wednesday, in Lee County, about 250 people had voted, either by mail or in person, Clerk and Recorder Cathy Myers said.

Four years ago, nearly 700 people had voted early or absentee, and 2 years ago, more than 450 people voted early or absentee, she said.

Myers said turnout so far probably is a “little bit behind” that of 4 years ago with less than 2 weeks before Election Day.

“But it could be because there are not a lot of contested races,” she said.

Changes in the law that allow people to vote early or absentee without an excuse have made voting more convenient, the clerks said.

Early voting began Monday. Registered voters may cast those ballots through April 6.

Whiteside County residents may vote early at the county courthouse, 200 E. Knox St. in Morrison, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, except Friday, when the office will be closed in observance of Good Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon April 6.

Those who do not want to drive to Morrison may vote early at the alternate courthouse, 101 E. Third St. in Sterling, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Lee County residents may vote early in the election department at the old county courthouse, 112 E. Second St. in Dixon, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. weekdays, except Friday, when the office will be closed in observance of Good Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon April 6.

Absentee voting is under way, too. Registered voters may cast their absentee ballots by mail or in person through April 8, the day before the election.

Whiteside County residents may drop off their absentee ballots at the county courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, except Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon April 6.

Lee County residents may drop off their absentee ballots at the old county courthouse from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. weekdays, except Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon April 6.

Voters still may request absentee ballots; county clerks must receive applications by April 4, so ballots can be mailed in time. Voters may mail their absentee ballots as long as they are postmarked by April 8.

Residents who wish to register to vote still have time, too; the grace period ends April 6. Go to www.elections.il.gov and click on “Voters,” then click on “Am I registered to vote in Illinois” to verify your voter registration.

For more information, call the Whiteside County Clerk’s Office at 815-772-5189 or the Lee County Clerk’s Office at 815-288-3309.

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