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Illinois State Students Avoid Long Waits With Early Voting

This story was written by Matthew Tomlin, The Daily Vidette

Election 2008 is off and running with early voting already taking place in the west lounge on the first floor of the Illinois State University Bone Student Center.

The early voting process began October 14 and runs until October 30. Citizens can vote Monday through Friday, anytime between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

"This is bringing voting to you, as opposed to you having to go out and vote," Mike Coleman, election judge in the Bone Student Center, said.

"Of all the privileges we have as U.S. citizens, having a say in who represents us in public office is one of the greatest," Duane Swanson, a fellow election judge, added.

Early voting allows voters to get in and vote without the hassle of waiting in line.

"Avoid the lines," Swanson said. "In the last presidential election, the line at closing time was very long."

"One of the benefits to voting early is being able to clear up any questions or discrepancies you may have with a change of address or student IDs," Coleman said.

Electronic voting machines are set up in the west lounge.

"I really liked the electronic voting," Rachel Feser, a junior politics and English major and early voter, said. "It was easy to use and let you see at the end exactly who you had voted for, so you could be certain you had not made a mistake."

"I think it is important for some people to vote early," she added, "because the amount of people who vote on Election Day can be overwhelming to count."

Dining room supervisor and early voter Sharon Tolbert recommended voting early as well. Tolbert agreed that the electronic voting process is very user-friendly.

"It's very convenient," she said. "Last year I ended up getting sick and couldn't vote, so I wanted to make sure I got in here and voted this time."

Coleman wanted to assure voters that voting early is the same as voting on Election Day.

"This is legitimate," he said. "There's no difference. Early ballots will be cast along with all those cast on November fourth."

On Election Day, voting will begin at 6 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. Voters need to be sure to bring a photo ID when they go to fill out their ballot.