A long line of early voters stretches out to the parking lot at the Morton Civic Center on Monday. Credit: Richard Cahan

Voting at Evanston’s 25 polling places kicked off at 6 a.m. Tuesday for the 2022 midterm elections. But Evanstonians also took advantage of early voting at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center well before Election Day.

According to data compiled by the Cook County Clerk’s Office, the Civic Center saw 9,221 ballots cast early between Oct. 24 and Nov. 7. More than 40% of those early votes were cast in the last four days since Friday, Nov. 4, including 1,275 votes cast on Monday, Nov. 7, alone.

That surge in early voters contributed to long lines weaving through the Civic Center parking lot over the last several days, as shown in the Monday photo above.

It was a significant increase from early voting before the 2022 primary, held on June 28, when residents cast 3,007 early votes. But Evanston had an abysmal voter turnout of 26.3% for the June primary, with just 13,234 ballots cast in all – fewer than were cast in early voting alone for the 2018 midterm election.

In that 2018 midterm election, 13,629 people voted early, which is 30% more than this year’s early-voting tally. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, 12,173 early votes were cast in Evanston.

Across all of suburban Cook County, 220,183 people voted early this fall, down slightly from the 230,036 early votes cast ahead of the 2018 midterm election. There were 77,039 people who voted early in the June 2022 primary. In comparison, a whopping 424,732 people voted early in the 2020 presidential election.

Historically, voter turnout in Evanston for most presidential and midterm general elections has been relatively high, despite the low numbers for this year’s summer primary. In 2018, Evanston was one of only eight townships in suburban Cook County to see a turnout over 60%, according to that year’s Post-Election Report.

Voter and ballot guides

Today, registered voters can cast ballots at their assigned precinct, based on their address, until 7 p.m. Anyone in line at any polling location by 7 p.m. has the right to stay in line and cast their vote.

You can use this tool from the Cook County Clerk’s Office to check what’s on the ballot, your assigned voting location and if you requested a mail-in ballot, as well.

The RoundTable also has you covered with all the information you need to make well-informed decisions on your ballot.

Campaign signs in the Morton Civic Center Parking Lot. Credit: Richard Cahan

Voters can also print out the guides to reference as they fill out their ballots, or simply pull up the RoundTable website on their phone while voting.

Ranked choice referendum

Outside of the traditional races this Election Day, Evanston voters are also deciding on ranked choice voting.

If that referendum passes, local voters will rank candidates for mayor, city clerk and City Council members by preference during future elections beginning in spring 2025.

If no candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes in the first round, then the last-place candidate is eliminated from the pool, and the second-choice votes of that candidate’s supporters are added to the other candidates’ totals. The cycle continues until one candidate has a majority of votes.

You can find more information and details about the ranked choice voting system and its pros and cons in our article here.

Experiencing any issues at your polling place or just have a voting story to share? Let us know by emailing news@evanstonroundtable.com. Later today, the RoundTable will post full results when available and offer reporting from local polling locations.

You can also watch all the suburban Cook County official results come in on the Cook County Clerk’s election night web page.

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

Alex Harrison

Alex Harrison joins the RoundTable for the summer in between his undergraduate and graduate studies at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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