Peoria a state leader in early voting

By WEEK Producer

October 3, 2012 Updated Oct 4, 2012 at 9:51 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- While candidates continue to campaign and hold debates, some people have already cast their ballots locally.

In states like Iowa and Ohio early voting has already started. Here in Illinois, the early voting period begins Monday, October 22 and runs through November 3, the Saturday before election day.

Tom Bride is the director of The Peoria Election Commission and says the city has become one of the most active early voting areas in the state.

We have a little over 20 percent of the people who voted early in the 2008 election and that number is second or third in the state for early voting," said Bride. "We've always promoted early voting and had several locations in the county."

If you live in the City of Peoria you can actually vote now at the Peoria Election Commission, located at 542 SW Adams Street.

If you live in Peoria County but not the the city, you can vote early at the Peoria County Clerks Office. It's called in-person absentee voting.

Absentee voting by mail started September 27. People should call the election commission to request a ballot.

If you haven't registered to vote, you have until October 9. But even then there's a grace period. If you bring two forms of identification to the election commission office between October 10 and November 3, someone there can get you registered.

"We will register you to vote but you need to vote while you're here as well, so you will register and vote at the same time," explained Elizabeth Gannon, the assistant director of the Peoria Election Commission.

Whatever method they choose, with each passing election, more and more people are voting early.

"The trend line on early voting goes up from day one all the way through the end," Bride said, "and so we have had people wait in line to vote early."