Kane County Clerk to push for early voting

By Leslie Hague
Daily Herald Staff
Published6/13/2008 12:06 AM

For Kane County to have all the equipment to handle the increased voter turnout of a presidential election with minimal waiting would cost at least $570,000 in new gear.

That's what representatives from the clerk's office told members of the county board's subcommittee on precincts Thursday.


"We know there are going to be lines," said Director of Elections Linda Mitchell. "People should either early vote -- that's the most desirable choice -- or go to the polling place sometime other than first thing in the morning or the last thing at night."

Buying the additional equipment seemed unlikely to county board members.

"We don't have $570,000," said Gerry Jones, an Aurora Democrat.

The county first used eSlate voting for the spring 2006 primary, so this will be the first presidential election -- which usually has a much higher turnout -- with the newer electronic machines.

The county has more than 80,000 voters who have never voted on eSlates and who traditionally only vote in presidential elections, said Chief Deputy Clerk Jay Bennett.

The office plans to get the word out to advise people to vote early through school and community newsletters, posters in public places and robo-calls.

Early voting tripled from the previous election after the calls and it was "about the least expensive thing we've done in terms of any advertising or marketing effort," Bennett said.

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The county is looking to implement "vote centers" for the November election, having more precincts voting in fewer places.

Committee members made several recommendations about changing precincts Thursday.

Rutland Township's second precinct -- which voted at the township office -- would be split along Interstate 90. South of the interstate would remain Precinct 2 and vote at the Eagles Club. North of the interstate would be the new Rutland Township precinct 8, which would vote in the Del Webb development.

Committee members also asked the clerk's office to look into moving voters from Sugar Grove's second precinct, who were voting at the township office, to voting at the Community House with two other precincts.

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