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Early Voting For Runoffs Outpacing February Election

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago election officials said they're hopeful for good turnout for the runoff elections on Tuesday, with the contest for mayor and 18 aldermanic seats up for grabs.

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chairman Langdon said early voting, which ends Saturday, has been quite high.

"We had 110,000 voters take advantage of early voting. That is approximately 20,000 more than we had in February, and we still have two days remaining," he said. "We see higher numbers where there are hotly contested aldermanic races; for instance, 7th Ward,"

Still, Neal said you can't tell much by the voting patterns.

"Our two largest early vote wards are the 19th Ward and the 41st Ward, so it's north and south. So it's really not geographically-based," he said.


The 19th Ward, which has cast the most early votes, does not even have an open aldermanic runoff. It typically has one of the highest turnouts in the city.

Neal would not predict higher turnout on Tuesday than in February, but he was hoping for it, in part because of the weather.

"It should be one of the better days to vote, in terms of weather. We certainly have a local contest, which usually our voters find interesting," he said.

Neal said this likely will be the last election he will oversee. He is stepping down, proud of having made Chicago's once-maligned elections system a model for the nation.

"A lot of people continue to look to Chicago to make jokes about it for something that happened, what, 40 years ago. I think, though, those in the election business look to Chicago for cutting-edge technology, cutting edge procedures," he said. "We have jurisdictions come from all over the United States to observe our elections; not New York, not L.A., but Chicago."

After 18 years at the helm, Neal said it's time for the election board to get someone with fresh ideas.

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