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Local

Early primary voting goes mobile

A tabulating machine shows the number of ballots it had recorded as of 2 p.m. Monday in the Holmes Student Center on the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb.
A tabulating machine shows the number of ballots it had recorded as of 2 p.m. Monday in the Holmes Student Center on the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Students and faculty at Northern Illinois University have a convenient voting option with the opening of the county’s first satellite location for the primary season.

The county opened an early voting location Monday at the Holmes Student Center for those looking to cast a primary ballot ahead of the March 20 election. The site will operate for one week with varying hours – 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Wednesday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m.-noon Friday.

It is the first time the county has launched mobile early voting sites for a primary, said DeKalb County Clerk John Acardo, adding it was in response to the growing demand. Acardo said the number of voters in comparable elections have doubled in recent years and hopes the multiple locations will continue that trend.

“It alleviates that stress if you can’t make it to vote on that one day,” Acardo said. “I’ve heard it mentioned by constituents that it’s hard not to vote with all the early options.”

Since early voting started Feb. 9 at the DeKalb County Legislative Center, the county has issued 471 ballots between in-person and absentee voting. Acardo said he expects the number to increase by the end of the week with all of the students and about 5,000 community members employed at NIU.

While registration has closed at the clerk’s office, people still can register at voting locations under grace-period voting. Voters need to bring two forms of identification, such as utility bills or lease agreements to register, and then vote immediately after.

For DeKalb residents unable to make it to campus, another early voting location will open at the DeKalb Annex Building next week before it moves to Sandwich the week of March 12.

Acardo said the satellite sites also would be open for the November general election if they are sufficiently used in the primary and receive positive feedback from voters. Surveys gauging the efficiency of the process will be available at the voting sites.

Early voting locations

• DeKalb County Legislative Center in Sycamore: Through March 19

• Holmes Student Center at NIU: Through Friday

• Annex Building in DeKalb: Monday-March 9

• Sandwich City Hall: March 12-15

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