CHICAGO — Chicagoans determined to cast their votes in the presidential election endured long lines throughout the city and shattered the early voting record set in 2008 by 25 percent, officials said.
With many polling places staying open more than a hour past the scheduled closing time of 7 p.m. Monday to ensure everyone in line could vote, 40,609 early ballots were cast, smashing the record for the most early votes cast on a single day, according to a statement from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
In addition, more than 62,000 ballots that have been cast by mail — a "massive amount," officials said.
That means approximately 400,000 ballots were cast in Chicago before 6 a.m. Tuesday, when the polls opened on Election Day.
Outside of Downtown, voters in the 47th Ward — which includes Lincoln Square and Ravenswood — cast the most of any Chicago ward through 8 p.m. Monday night, officials said.
Election officials have expressed amazement that interest in this presidential election in Chicago has exceeded the 2008 election, when Chicagoan Barack Obama became the first African-American president.
Votes cast by mail must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, Election Day. If you want to ensure that your mail vote is counted, take it to a post office rather than dropping it in a mailbox, officials said.
Voters who requested a mail ballot also can take it to their polling place and turn it in and vote on Election Day, officials said.
All ballots cast by mail and during early voting are final and cannot be changed, officials said.
Elections officials are prepared for any shenanigans at the polls on Election Day, but dismissed Trump's claims that a "rigged election" could cost him the presidency.
Approximately 500 investigators will be on duty Tuesday to ensure the elections run smoothly.
All polling places will be open until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters waiting in line at the time the polls close must be allowed to vote under state law.
Complaints can be made to each polling place's head election judge or by calling 312-269-7870, officials said.
"We are very confident in the integrity of this election," said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
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