Want to vote early? Thursday's your last chance.

February 16, 2011

Thursday is the final day to vote ahead of Chicago's city elections next Tuesday.

Registered voters can cast ballots early at 51 locations around the city, including many libraries, city colleges and parks buildings. The process was interrupted by the blizzard a couple weeks ago, which shuttered almost all the polling sites for two days.

Nonetheless, early voting this year has already doubled the total from the 2007 elections, when about 24,000 Chicagoans came out. That was the first municipal election in which early voting was offered.

Chicagoans 55 and older have been most interested in casting their ballots early this year, according to numbers provided by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Through Sunday, more than half of all early voters fit into that age group.

Early voting is billed as a chance for voters to avoid the crowds that sometimes clog polling places on Election Day. It also means candidates are left with fewer voters to try to sway in the final weekend of the campaign.