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updated: 11/6/2012 1:02 AM

Early voting increases in Hoffman Estates

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Cook County voters had less time to vote early this year than they did four years ago, but the number of early votes cast in Hoffman Estates increased by about 29 percent.

Village Clerk Bev Romanoff said during a village board meeting Monday that in the 2008 general election, when there were 16 days of early voting, 3,464 people voted in Hoffman Estates.

This year, during a 12-day period that spanned from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3, Romanoff said 4,482 people voted early at the village hall, which was one of more than 40 early voting locations within the county.

"That was over 1,000 more voters in four less days," she said.

Voters in suburban Cook County were allowed to vote at any early voting location in the county, meaning the early votes in Hoffman Estates weren't necessarily all from village residents. The biggest turnout at village hall during the early voting period was on Saturday, Nov. 3, when 645 people voted.

While village officials were pleased with the numbers, both Romanoff and Mayor William McLeod expressed concerns about how overwhelming the process was.

"If anybody -- the staff, my staff, the people that had come in -- got a little short or a little irritated there, with long lines, then I apologize," Romanoff said.

She said conditions improved when the number of election judges on hand increased from two to at least five and the number of machines increased from six to 10.

"They were trying, but they did it last minute," she said of the county's efforts, adding that lines still went slow because the village didn't have extra equipment available.

"The bottom line is the county clerk's got to give more resources," McLeod said. "People were waiting hours to vote, which is ridiculous. You don't wait this long on Election Day."

Neighboring communities had even bigger early voting turnouts, according to the Cook County clerk's website. During the entire early voting period 5,244 voters went to Streamwood Village Hall, 7,904 voters went to Palatine Village Hall and 9,199 voters went to Schaumburg Public Library. Like Hoffman Estates, all three municipalities also had an increase from 2008 in the number of early voters.

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