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Chicago Voter Registration At Record Low

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The number of registered voters in Chicago is at the lowest level ever recorded, officials said Monday.

Chicago Board of Elections Chairman Langdon Neal said 1.28 million people have registered to vote in Chicago, the lowest number of registered voters since 1944, the earliest year for which the city has records.

Officials estimated there are as many as 500,000 eligible voters who aren't registered, based on figures from the 2010 U.S. Census.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Brandis Friedman reports


Neal urged Chicago voters to check their registration status. Eligible voters who haven't registered to vote must do so by Feb. 21 if they want to vote in the March 20 primary elections.

"We want people to check on their own voter registration status, and to tell their relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to do the same. If anyone has moved or changed their name, there are still eight days to go to file an update to their registration," Neal said.

Voters can check their registration status by calling 312-769-7900 or by visiting the Board of Elections website and entering their last name and address. Voters outside of Chicago can check their status at the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Officials attributed the low registration numbers to the lack of a true contest for President Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary at the top of the ballot, as well as a measured level of national voter apathy.

--CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

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