Tazewell County sees over 13,000 early voters, shattering previous record

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Breaking records in Tazewell County, election officials in the county said 2020 early voting numbers have been higher than any other previous election.

At closing Sunday afternoon, 13,191 early votes had been cast in the county, shattering the previous record. In 2016, 4,718 voters voted early in the presidential election.

Sunday marked the last day for offsite early voting at the county’s four temporary locations in East Peoria, Morton, Washington and Tremont. County Clerk John Ackerman said in previous years, a good day consisted of 60-100 voters on a weekend day. This weekend alone 4,983 Tazewell County residents voted early.

“That’s as many people showing up in one weekend that showed up for the entire 2016 election for early voting,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman said he was impressed by the amount of early voters and believes people were passionate this year about both candidates. He also said he believes COVID-19 also played a role in the unprecedented numbers.

“I think the uncertainty lately of COVID spiking back up a bit of well what would November 3rd hold, will there be a chance of polls being closed,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman said he commends the poll workers for getting people through as quickly as possible and hopes to tweak the process next year for a faster process.

“I’d hate to discourage anyone from voting due to long lines,” Ackerman said.

Phil Johnson voted early at the Washington location on Sunday Morning and said he was planning on voting early to beat lines on Election Day.

“It’s the most important right, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,” Johnson said.

Ackerman says you can still early vote in person at the McKenzie Building in Pekin, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

He also says regardless of COVID spiking up, polls will be open in Tazewell County on Election Day.

Ackerman said Vote-by-Mail is also up this election cycle with 9,300 vote-by-mail ballots already returned.

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