LINCOLN SQUARE — Voters hoping to avoid long lines at the polls on Tuesday ran into that precise problem Monday at Welles Park, where some waited three hours to cast a ballot.
"I was hoping that it would be faster," said Stephanie Wolfer.
Wolfer and her husband, who had Monday off but not Tuesday, arrived at the park's fieldhouse at 10:30 a.m. and walked out with their "I voted" wristbands at 1:30 p.m.
"So, not faster," she said.
One of 51 early voting sites in Chicago, Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave., has seen the second-highest early turnout in the city, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.
"Over 9,000 people voted early and over 13,000 requested a ballot by mail," Paul Rosenfeld, 47th Ward committeeman, told DNAinfo.com via email.
Joanie Jones was among those at the park Monday, even though her regular polling place is just blocks from her home and she's never voted early before.
For Jones, weather trumped convenience.
"It's a beautiful day, it's going to rain tomorrow," she said.
The long line, which snaked onto the sidewalk outside the fieldhouse, didn't deter her.
"I'm very happy, I'm very excited," said Jones, adding that she never expected to be able to vote for a female president.
Maryanne Johnson was willing to wait however long it took to cast her ballot for the same reason.
"I do deem this very important and historical," Johnson said.
"It's important to me to say I voted for the first woman president," she said.
Wolfer wouldn't tip her hand in terms of whom she'd voted for, but said the wait was worth it just to call an end to an election season that felt like it had gone on forever, she said.
"I think we're fatigued," Wolfer said.
Early voting sites will be open until 7 p.m. Monday. Voters can cast a ballot at any of the 51 locations across the city.
Sites near Welles Park include California Park/McFetridge Sports Center, 3843 N. California Ave., and Budlong Woods Branch Library, 5630 N. Lincoln Ave.
Rosenfeld said he doesn't envision the sort of gridlock on Tuesday that took place at Welles Park on Election Day in November 2014, when the park served as a polling place for same-day registration voting.
"Early voting has attracted record-breaking crowds," Rosenfeld said. "This will greatly decrease our Election Day volume, especially during mid-day hours."
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