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Early voter turnout subdued as 4 new polling places open in DeKalb County

County turnout subdued as 4 new polling places open Monday

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 11:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 11:12 p.m. CDT
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(Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com)
Outgoing Kirkland Village President Les Bellah casts his vote Monday at the Kirkland Village Hall in Kirkland.
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(Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com)
Election judges John Horn (left) and Pat Siebrasse, both of Sycamore, work on crossword puzzles as they await voters Monday at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
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(Matthew Apgar / Daily Chronicle)
Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Jim Kasallis of Kirkland wears his "I Voted" sticker on his hat after casting his ballot on Monday, at Kirkland Village Hall in Kirkland.
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(Matthew Apgar / Daily Chronicle)
Matthew Apgar - mapgar@shawmedia.com Jim Kasallis of Kirkland casts his ballot on Monday at Kirkland Village Hall in Kirkland.

DeKALB – Election judge John Horn of Sycamore, who was monitoring early voting at Northern Illinois University’s Holmes Student Center, said only three people had cast votes by 10:30 a.m. Monday, which wasn’t uncommon for a local election.

In contrast, Horn said the site was really busy during the presidential election in November.

“We were open an hour and a half after the polls closed for the presidential election just to complete all of the paperwork,” Horn said.

With only two weeks until Election Day, early voting sites will be available in five locations across DeKalb County in the days before the election.

The Blackhawk Annex of the Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb Township Building at 2323 S. Fourth St., Kirkland Village Hall at 511 W. Main St. and the Sandwich Fire Station at 310 E. Railroad St., all opened Monday for early and grace-period voting.

The DeKalb County Legislative Center’s Gathertorium on 200 N. Main St. in Sycamore, which opened in February, also is still open. All five will be open every day through April 2, with three sites open daily through Election Day.

Grace-period voting is for people who haven’t yet registered to vote. Those taking part in grace-period voting must cast their ballot the same day they register.

Voters can check the registration status on the county election website. Regular voter registration expired earlier this month.

About 450 DeKalb County residents had voted early as of Monday afternoon, including 18 at Kirkland’s Village Hall, DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson said.

One of these early voters was Village President Les Bellah, who will be stepping down from his position after 30 years as a village board member. Bellah will be replaced by either Ryan Block, Wanda McMurray or Harry Newberry, all of whom are on the ballot.

Kirkland resident Jim Kasallis said the Kirkland satellite site was much more convenient than the Legislative Center location, which is about 20 minutes away.

“I have a bunch of friends on the ballot and it just makes things a whole lot easier to vote,” Kasallis said.

At the Holmes Student Center, only one additional person cast a ballot Monday.

Another 12 people cast their votes at the DeKalb Township Building, 14 people voted at the Sandwich Fire Station and 395 people had voted at the Gathertorium, which has been open for early voting since Feb. 23.

Less than 8 percent of registered voters cast their ballots for the 2015 consolidated election, 22 percent cast their vote in the 2013 election and 12 percent voted in 2011.

April 2 will be the last day to vote early at the Kirkland and Sandwich sites, and April 3, the day before the election, will be the last day to vote early at the Sycamore, DeKalb Township and NIU sites.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. on Election Day.

A full list of dates and times for early voting at all five locations is available on the DeKalb County Elections website.

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