Election day is here
URBANA — Roughly 5 percent of the people expected to vote in Tuesday's local elections have already cast their ballots, according to the Champaign County clerk, and about 26,000 people will vote Tuesday if it is anything like the last comparable election.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
About 1,300 people took advantage of seven external early voting sites set up throughout Champaign County, said county clerk Gordy Hulten. For a spring election, it was the first time voters were able to cast early ballots in places other than at the clerk's office in the Brookens Administrative Center in Urbana.
He said he did not have any expectations for early voter turnout given the seven new places where they could cast ballots, but "our thinking is we're going to continue to do these every time we have a county election."
Dozens of city, village, township, park and school officials are up for election. Many are uncontested races, but voters will decide winners in a number of key races.
Mare than 26,000 people voted in the most recent comparable election in 2009 — that was a 22 percent turnout.
Nearly 5,000 people decided the Urbana mayoral race in 2009. Laurel Prussing won that election by a wide margin, and she is facing the same Republican challenger, Rex Bradfield, whom she beat in 2009.
In 2009, 452 people decided a contested Champaign City Council District 1 race — Will Kyles defeated Freddie Gordon by 56 votes four years ago. He is running against Gina Jackson, the city council member who did not seek re-election in 2009 and whom Kyles replaced.
Four other Champaign City Council seats are up for election, too, but all the incumbent candidates are unopposed. Council members Michael La Due, Vic McIntosh, Marci Dodds and Paul Faraci will win new four-year terms.
None of the seven Urbana City Council races is contested, but the election will bring three new members. Democrat Carol Ammons is running unopposed for the Ward 3 seat, Democrat Bill Brown for Ward 4 and Republican Michael P. Madigan for Ward 6.
Outgoing members Robert Lewis, Brandon Bowersox-Johnson and Heather Stevenson did not seek re-election.
Fewer than 21,000 people voted during a spring election in 2011, when there was a tightly contested mayoral race in Champaign. That was just under 17 percent voter turnout.
During a Democratic primary election in February, 2,000 people voted for contested Urbana mayoral and city clerk nominations. That added up to just under 10 percent voter turnout.
Hulten thinks cold temperatures and snow showers may have lowered turnout during the February Democratic primary. Forecasters are expecting a high temperature of 74 degrees with thunderstorms likely on Tuesday.
Polling place changes
URBANA — Two significant changes to polling places should be noted for Tuesday, said Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten.
All 10 University of Illinois campus precincts will be voting in the Illini Union. Generally, that means anyone living in the area bounded by University Avenue, Lincoln Avenue in Urbana, Windsor Road and the railroad tracks in Champaign should head to the Illini Union to cast their ballots.
Also, because of scheduling conflicts, two west Champaign voting places have been moved. Those who had been voting at the Champaign County Farm Bureau building and the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center at Parkland College will now be voting at the Parkland College Applied Technology Center.
Hulten said anyone with questions about polling places or voting can visit the county clerk's website, champaigncountyclerk.com, or call his office for more information at 217-384-3720.