Vote early, or on time

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Early voting and vote-by-mail for the Nov. 8 election has been keeping pace with 2018 numbers, according to Monroe County Clerk Jonathan McLean.

Despite a “light” turnout during the first Saturday early voting hours Oct. 29, McLean reported the county has already received about 50 more early votes than the same time four years ago – the last election before COVID-19  greatly increased the number of ballots cast prior to election day.     

As of Monday, McLean reported just over 1,500 early voters and anticipates about 3,000 Monroe County residents to vote before Tuesday. 

McLean said he expects approximately 16,000 total ballots to be cast in this election.

As of Friday, the Monroe County Clerk’s Office had received 1,079 of the 1,711 ballots requested for vote-by-mail.

While the last official day to request a mail-in ballot is this Thursday, McLean said he would like to have those ballots as soon as possible, as the United States Postal Service does not “guarantee delivery.”

McLean noted there were no issues with tabulating equipment during a public test held earlier this month. He added his office is required to test a random sample of 5 percent of ballots after the election to ensure accurate vote counts.

While there have been no equipment issues during early voting, McLean said voters still have asked questions regarding a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution.

The proposal asks if an amendment should be added which would prevent Illinois lawmakers from passing what is commonly referred to as “right to work” legislation.

Passage of the amendment is supported as a means of “protecting workers” by union organizations for employees in the public and private sectors, such as the Chicago Teachers Union.

Groups including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Manufacturing Association claim the amendment will hurt business growth in the state if it passes.

McLean said voters are not required to vote on the proposed amendment.

To pass, Illinois Amendment 1 would need to gain 60 percent approval of those voting on the issue or a simple majority approval for all ballots cast.

There are two contested Monroe County races in Tuesday’s election.  

Democrat Pat Kelly of Valmeyer is challenging incumbent Republican Vicki Koerber of Waterloo for her seat on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners.

Democrat Sonja Madlinger of Columbia is going up against incumbent Republican Carl Wuertz of Fults for the office of county assessor.

Democrat Homer “Chip” Markel of Carbondale is looking to unseat  Republican Mike Bost of Murphysboro for his seat in the U.S. House of Representative in the Illinois 12th Congressional District.

Incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates is opposed by Republican Kathy Salvi of Waukegan and Libertarian Bill Redpath of West Dundee.

In the Illinois gubernatorial race, incumbent Democrat JB Pritzker of Chicago is being challenged by Republican Darren Bailey of Xenia and Libertarian Scott Schluter of Marion.

Early voting continues at the Monroe County Clerk’s Office inside the courthouse during normal hours through Monday. The office will be also be open for early voting this Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon.  

Polls will be open this Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or to find polling locations, call 618-939-8623 or visit mococlerk.com.

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