Hundreds turn out on first day of early voting in Rockford

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On the first day of early voting in Illinois, some voters who stood in line outside the Rockford Board of Elections said the crowd was the largest they’d ever seen.

“I do it every time. It’s never been like this before. I’ve been here two and a half hours, that’s how long it took,” said early voter, James Hedlund.

Polls opened at select locations across the state starting at 8 a.m.

Hundreds of people came out to cast their ballots. Some said it was a tradition.

“We’ve made it a habit to vote early, to make sure that we get our vote in, in case something happens [the] day of the election. So, we’ve been voting early for years,” said Lori Gustafson.

Noah Bowman said, “It’s something I do every [election] year. My mom, when I was young, as soon as I could register to vote, she brought me out here. It’s a tradition to early vote, get your voice out, get your opinion out.”

Others said they don’t always vote early, but made it a priority this year because of concerns over COVID-19 at the voting booth.

“I didn’t want to wait,” said Edith Webster. “Between the pandemic and how crazy it’s probably going to be on election day, and with everything going on in the country, there’s a lot we can’t control but this is something I can do today and it helps me. It makes me feel better about things going on.”

Webster said election officials were doing a good job of cleaning the polls in-between voters.  She said the large crowd and long wait didn’t bother her.

“People have died, people have fought, people have done lots of things so that I could come out here and stand in line for two hours. So, what’s two hours out of my life for all of that?” she asked.

Starting Monday, October 19th, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, at 412 N Church St, will open up to offer another polling place for early voting in Rockford.

For polling places and other information, visit https://www.voterockford.com/for-voters/early-voting

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