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It's Election Day: Polls Are Open Despite COVID-19 Risk

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Polls are open, even though far fewer voters than usual are expected to turn out for today’s primary election because of coronavirus concerns.

About 540,000 people cast early voting ballots as of midday Monday — that’s up 25 percent from the 2016 primary, which had been record-setting. And 294,000 ballots were requested, which is up about 40 percent from 2016.

Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the State Board of Elections, said Illinois opted to proceed with the primary despite the threat of coronavirus for voters because it is unclear when the risk of COVID-19 will be diminished.

“Local election authorities statewide have gone to great lengths to make sure that they have hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes — that election judges are told about proper CDC recommendations for keeping hands clean,” he said.

Some counties have reported a shortage of election judges, including Sangamon. 

Polls throughout the state will close at 7 p.m.

Live voting in Illinois is in contrast to Ohio, which pushed back its March 17 primary until June.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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