Casting a ballot before election day is becoming more popular in Illinois, according to a report by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR). The group found that the percentage of voters opting to vote before election day climbed to 22 percent this primary compared to 18 percent in 2016.
Though early voting numbers are increasing in Illinois, the state is still behind nationally. Sixty-four percent of votes in California’s primary were cast early, with 43 percent by mail. New York, however, does not begin the process of early voting until 2019.
NPR Illinois talked with ICPR Policy Director Colin Williams about the report.
Among the benefits of early voting he said is the convenience.
“Up to two weeks before election day is when you get the most convenience for voters,” Williams said.
Champaign County brought out the largest proportion of early voters at 40 percent, compared to Hardin County where no voters cast their ballots before March 20. Williams said this is a result of the county’s available resources and voting habits.
“Election day is kind of ingrained in the culture of these smaller counties, and there’s not as many resources to have early voting sites open across the county that are convenient for people,” Williams said.