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Champaign County Expands Early Voting

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Campaign signs compete for the attention of early voters at the main entrance to the Champaign County Brookens Center in Urbana.

CHAMPAIGN – As early voting continues for the March 17 Illinois Primary, Champaign County is opening seven additional early voting locations on Monday, March 8, in Champaign, Rantoul, Tolono, Mahomet and St. Joseph.

Two other early voting locations opened a week earlier on the University of Illinois campus. Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons says he opened the campus locations earlier than those around the county, because students will be on spring break when the primary election takes place March 17th.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Voting Information by County

Champaign

Coles

Macon

Piatt

Vermilion

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Ammons says he moved the early voting station at the Illini Union from the 4th floor location used in past elections to the Pine Lounge on the first floor, where it would be more accessible and visible to students.

“The Pine Lounge room is such a busy room in the Union,” said Ammons. “And so students who were coming there to maybe use the room, they’re seeing it’s being occupied for voting, and some of them are stepping  up to vote as well.”

Ammons also opened a second campus early voting spot at the Activities and Recreation Center, also known as the ARC. But he says turnout there has not been as high as he had expected.

Even before the opening of additional locations around the county, Ammons said his staff told him that the early voter turnout may be a little higher than usual for a presidential election. And he says interest in the Democratic primary seems to be picking up, as the field of presidential candidates narrows.

“We’ve seen many Democratic candidates for president drop out,” said Ammons. “And so I think people are paying more attention now, and they’re ready to cast their vote in that race. So there has been an uptick in the activity in the voters in the office since when we first started.”

Ammons said that “over 1,400” ballots had been cast early at the Brookens Center as of Friday, March 6 (up from 1,324 the day before). And his office reported as of Saturday, March 7, 1,381 ballots had been cast on the University of Illinois campus (1,167 at the Illini Union and 214 at the ARC).

In addition, Ammons’ office reports that 750 absentee ballots had been received by mail as of March 6.

Besides the early voter locations, Champaign County voters can also cast ballots early at the county clerk’s office in the Brookens Center in Urbana. 

Coles County is another east-central Illinois county that has opened up additional early voting locations, at Mattoon’s City Hall and at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on the Eastern Illinois University campus in Charleston.  

Ballots may also be cast early at the main offices of county clerks (and special election authorities such as the Danville Election Commission) for voters living within their jurisdictions.

Here is a list of the seven early voting locations opening March 8 around Champaign County, followed by their hours.

Meadowbrook Community Church, 1902 S Duncan, Champaign

Church of the Living God, 312 E Bradley, Champaign

Leonard Recreation Center, 2307 Sangamon, Champaign

Lake of the Woods, Elk Pavilion, 301 Senna Dr, Mahomet

Tolono Library, 111 E Main, Tolono

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 802 E Douglas, St. Joseph

First United Methodist Church, The Gathering Place; 200 S Century Blvd, Rantoul

Hours for the seven county locations: Mon-Fri March 9-13 & 16, 10 AM – 6 PM; Sat March 14, 10 AM – 1 PM; Sun March 15, 1-4 PM.

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Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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