GENEVA, Ill. (CBS) — There was impressive turnout Thursday for the first day of early voting for parts of the Chicago area.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, voters in Geneva spent hours in socially-distanced lines to have their say in the 2020 election.
The Kane County Building was one of two early voting locations in the county as of Thursday. There will eventually be a couple dozen.
Voters can also drop off mail-in ballots at the official dropbox inside the doors of the building.
For in-person voting, instructions are clear and there is a protocol. And all day long Thursday, the Kane County Building in Geneva was filled with voters eager to cast their ballots on the first day they could do so.
“I want to make sure that I got my vote in,” said Pam Verner. “I want to make sure that it got counted.”
Verner waited almost two hours to cast her touchscreen ballot. That was the average wait time where she voted, as the line to the Kane County Building stretched out the door and alongside the street.
Longtime Kane County Clerk John Cunningham kept watch over the lines, ensuring that people were wearing masks as they entered.
Cunningham called the turnout amazing.
“I like it, because it means that we’re going to have a fantastic turnout this election,” he said.
And if the request for mail-in ballots is any indication, Cunningham could be right. He said 92,000 Kane County residents have applied for ballots so far, and they are being prepared for delivery in a room down the hall from the polling stations.
Cunningham spent almost $1 million on equipment that will put ballots in addressed envelopes, and later, when they’re returned, they will be verified on a machine.
Ultimately, he said the new equipment will help save taxpayer dollars by reducing mail-in ballot-related manpower costs.
“We have to run two elections here now,” Cunningham said. “We have to run the vote-by-mail election and the regular election.”
Cunningham said hand sanitizer, shields, and other safety supplies have added to this election’s price tag. Despite the somewhat tight voting quarters, he believes the judges and voters will be safe.
And it didn’t seem to stop any voters.
“I’m really surprised, because I’ve voted early before, and I have never, ever seen a line,” Verner said.
Other early voting spots will open on Oct. 18, and of course, those with mail-in ballots can start returning them as soon as they get them. They are being mailed out statewide on Thursday.