1 in 5 may vote early in Champaign County

1 in 5 may vote early in Champaign County

URBANA — As many as 20 percent of Champaign County voters could cast their ballots before Election Day, according to figures from the Champaign County clerk's office.

As of Monday morning, nearly 10,000 voters had either voted early, voted in-person absentee or submitted absentee ballots by mail, said County Clerk Gordy Hulten.

On Saturday alone, during generally limited hours, 938 people cast ballots at one of the eight early voting sites around the county.

And on Sunday, where only the county clerk's office in Urbana was open, 362 people voted during a seven-hour period. That was slightly more than the daily average of 347 voters during the previous six days, when the office was open for 81/2 hours.

In the 2008 presidential election, nearly 85,000 people cast ballots in Champaign County. Assuming a similar turnout this year, a combined absentee/early voting total of 17,000 would equal 20 percent.

Reaching that level, Hulten said Monday, is "very realistic."

Four full days of early voting remain, plus a three-hour window at each of the eight early voting sites on Saturday. All but two of the early voting sites — the Illini Union and the Tolono Public Library — will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the last day of early voting. The other two locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the first five days of early voting last week, an average of 908 people a day voted at the eight early voting sites.

But on Saturday, when seven of the eight sites were open only three hours, a total of 938 people voted. The busiest site Saturday was the county clerk's office at the Brookens Administrative Center, which was open for seven hours and handled 350 early voters. But the Meadowbrook Community Church in southwest Champaign was open only three hours on Saturday and had 220 early voters.

Hulten said the heavy turnout Saturday may indicate a need for extended Saturday hours in future elections.

"Saturday morning was pretty heavy at most locations, considering we were only open until noon at most of them," he said. "We had some backup Saturday morning at Meadowbrook and Tolono but sent staff out as soon as we got the call so we could process voters more quickly."

As of Monday morning, about 6,135 people in Champaign County had voted early, with the highest numbers at Brookens (2,545) and Meadowbrook Church (1,432). The other sites reported significantly fewer voters, including Grace Church in Mahomet (550), the Spalding Recreation Center in north Champaign (412), the Rantoul Recreation Center (354), the Illini Union (293), the Tolono Public Library (277) and the St. Joseph Village Annex (272).

In Danville, about 1,400 people had either voted early or voted absentee through Saturday, according to the Danville Election Commission. There are about 18,000 registered voters in Danville.

In Vermilion County, as of mid-afternoon Monday, 1,240 people had either voted absentee or voted early, according to the county clerk's office. That's about 4 percent of the 30,362 registered voters in the county.

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pattsi wrote on October 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The bragging rights across the USA about early voting, facilitating such, what percentage are taking advantage of such, etc. are just fascinating because there is so little conversation as to what this is doing and will continue to do to how people vote, how people campaign, when campaigning (all aspects including debates) will have to occur, who are actually the early voting voters--straight party, only top of the ballot, cross overs, lots of roll off? Actually, there is so little field research as to what actually works to get someone elected. Presently there is the growing pattern of targeting populations, drowning people in robo calls, running high powered models to get the last 1-2%, register the whole world when the important number is those who actually vote, etc.  But if one stops and asks th question "do you have any data that shows the effectiveness of 'X'?"  The answer is normally no, but "we know it works because we used it the last time and we won."

With early voting becoming more and more common across the country, campaigning will have to start a whole lot before Labor Day; yet, John Q. Public's focus really does not narrow until after that date and by Halloween individuals are so tired of the "campaigning whatever" that they tune out.

The political scientists and public administration plus other disciplines ought to pick up the research ball and run with it. However it is very hard to convince a candidate to participate, especially when one says "well we will be working with a random sample of the potential constituents."

Actually, the experimental economists are doing research in areas closely associated wht is important to know as to how to campaign, such as trust, networking, voting, etc. Take a look at the 2012 conference program as a stimulus to what questions are interesting to ask.  http://www.economicscience.org/downloads/2012_Tucson_Program.html

thelowedown wrote on October 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Pattsi, some experimential research as been run on campaigns by political scientists. For example, Rick Perry's campaign in 2006 featured political scientists studying effects of paid media as well as travel versus satellite interviews among other things.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/rick-perrys-scientific-campaign-method/

http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2011/08/23/rick-perrys-eggheads/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/magazine/31politics-t.html?_r=3&ref=magazine&adxnnlx=1314064301-6R37iikyWsuldiTBF32D7Q&pagewanted=all&

 

pattsi wrote on October 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

You are correct; nonetheless there is not much. Here is the site to which you refer at Yale U.

http://gotv.research.yale.edu/

The professors who did the research are Gerber and Green.

http://www.news-gazette.com/comment/reply/1124738/491788

It would be most interesting if some of the local candidates applied the results of this research in their own campaigns.

Political Observer wrote on October 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

One factor in the surge in early voting in Champaign County may be what some people are starting to refer to as the developing “Gordy Boo Boo Story.”  For some time, it’s been getting clearer and clearer that the Champaign County Republican Party made a major, major mistake in appointing as the county’s Election Authority a person who’s probably the most locally-experienced, partisan-Republican, dirty-tricks operative they could possibly find anywhere.  (Although in fairness I should add that many people tell me that in person he seems to have a quite genial, Richard Milhous Nixon-like persona, although I personally wouldn’t be able to comment one way or the other on that…)

In any event, with more and more evidence slowly seeping out about his War on Grace Period Voting, as discussed here:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2012-10-27/county-clerk-candidates-differ-grace-period-voting.html

and his clumsy Voter Caging and Suppression activities (see the reader comments after the questionnaire responses here:)

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2012-10-12/2012-election-candidate-questionnaire-gordy-hulten-champaign

it may be becoming obvious to some readers that the only safe way to cast a vote in Champaign County in this election is to do it early enough, so that it’s possible to actually have the time necessary to counter any and all of the obstacles that Sgt. Hulten decides to put in the path of voting.