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Early voting in 2018 primaries nearly triple that in 2014 in Chicago, suburbs

Early voting at satellite facilities began March 5. The Illinois primary is March 20. | Sun-Times file photo

Even before Tuesday’s primary, thousands of Cook County residents came out to cast their votes early, shattering records in both Chicago and suburban Cook.

Chicago set a record with 85,892 early voters as of Sunday. That’s nearly double the previous record of 45,013 that was set in 2010.

Suburban Cook County had 90,672 early voters as of Sunday — more than double the previous early voting record in suburban Cook for a primary featuring a gubernatorial race. That record also was set in 2010, when 35,679 suburban Cook County voters cast early ballots, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Monday.

Video by Eliza Davidson

Orr noted there are a number of hot races to draw people to the polls this year.

“It’s often a factor of the voters’ interest and we have more close races almost than ever,” he said before ticking off a number of hot races: “gubernatorial, attorney general, county president.

“And the mother of all races, the Cook County Assessor’s race,” Orr added — in which incumbent Joe Berrios is facing a spirited challenge from Fritz Kaegi, an Oak Park financial manager.

Orr also pointed out that 80 percent of early suburban voters are Democrats.

And a stark age gap exists in early voting, Orr said, noting that 84 percent of early votes have been cast by voters 45 and older.

Chicago Board of Election Commissioner Marisel Hernandez also said that few young people are voting early. “Where are the millennials?” she asked.

Comparison to 2014

Total early primary voting in all of Cook County, through Sunday, was 176,564 ballots cast, based on data from the Chicago Board of Elections and the clerk’s office. Additionally, 40,072 Chicago voters have requested a mail-in ballot.

In 2014, that combined number was 79,134.

“It’s too soon to say how much higher turnout will be relative to 2014, as these numbers partly reflect more people accepting Early Voting and Vote By Mail,” Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections, said in a statement. “However, we feel certain that turnout will easily surpass the super-low 16.5 percent rate of the 2014 Primary.”

The Chicago Board of Elections will operate a hotline for voters to call in complaints and concerns on election day. The number is (312) 269-7870.

Hernandez said her office plans to use more than 450 investigators on election day to look into shenanigans.

Here’s a list of early ballots cast by ward in Chicago through Sunday. The Far South Side’s 19th Ward, centered on Beverly and Morgan Park, led the way for early voting in Chicago.

  • Ward 19: 4,161 early ballots cast
  • Ward 4: 2,767 early ballots cast
  • Ward 34: 2,735 early ballots cast
  • Ward 47: 2,731 early ballots cast
  • Ward 41: 2,676 early ballots cast
  • Ward 48: 2,506 early ballots cast
  • Ward 18: 2,421 early ballots cast
  • Ward 9: 2,276 early ballots cast
  • Ward 5: 2,254 early ballots cast
  • Ward 3: 2,232 early ballots cast
  • Ward 8: 2,222 early ballots cast
  • Ward 7: 2,191 early ballots cast
  • Ward 13: 2,167 early ballots cast
  • Ward 43: 2,118 early ballots cast
  • Ward 39: 2,098 early ballots cast
  • Ward 21: 2,040 early ballots cast
  • Ward 49: 2,008 early ballots cast
  • Ward 40: 1,914 early ballots cast
  • Ward 29: 1,913 early ballots cast
  • Ward 44: 1,906 early ballots cast
  • Ward 45: 1,897 early ballots cast
  • Ward 11: 1,861 early ballots cast
  • Ward 2: 1,796 early ballots cast
  • Ward 46: 1,796 early ballots cast
  • Ward 50: 1,776 early ballots cast
  • Ward 42: 1,761 early ballots cast
  • Ward 38: 1,748 early ballots cast
  • Ward 32: 1,703 early ballots cast
  • Ward 23: 1,682 early ballots cast
  • Ward 1: 1,614 early ballots cast
  • Ward 6: 1,600 early ballots cast
  • Ward 17: 1,532 early ballots cast
  • Ward 33: 1,494 early ballots cast
  • Ward 37: 1,390 early ballots cast
  • Ward 27: 1,288 early ballots cast
  • Ward 10: 1,245 early ballots cast
  • Ward 28: 1,244 early ballots cast
  • Ward 20: 1,144 early ballots cast
  • Ward 26: 985 early ballots cast
  • Ward 16: 928 early ballots cast
  • Ward 36: 923 early ballots cast
  • Ward 14: 902 early ballots cast
  • Ward 25: 885 early ballots cast
  • Ward 12: 860 early ballots cast
  • Ward 35: 834 early ballots cast
  • Ward 30: 821 early ballots cast
  • Ward 24: 775 early ballots cast
  • Ward 22: 759 early ballots cast
  • Ward 31: 738 early ballots cast
  • Ward 15: 575 early ballots cast

The five suburbs with the most early voters so far are Evanston (5,481), Orland Park (3,832), Mount Prospect (3,762), Oak Park (3,519) and Glenview (3,126).