Polls open in Illinois as Election Day gets underway

Polls opened in Illinois Tuesday morning, setting off a decisive Election Day of hotly contested races locally and across the nation.

Fifty-one sites across Chicago are welcoming residents to cast their votes until 8 p.m.

As of noon, over 417,000 ballots, including early votes, have been cast in Chicago, representing a 27% citywide turnout, according to the Board of Elections. The voting turnout by hour breaks down as follows:

  • 6 a.m. – 16,105 ballots cast
  • 7 a.m. – 22,228 ballots cast
  • 8 a.m. – 26,264 ballots cast
  • 9 a.m. – 26,487 ballots cast
  • 10 a.m. – 27,992 ballots cast
  • 11 a.m. – 28,478 ballots cast

Marisel Hernandez, chairwoman of the Chicago Board of Elections, urged everyone to make it out to the polls.

"Your voice needs to be heard throughout Illinois and the rest of this country," Hernandez said. "No matter your views on any number of issues, your voice needs to be heard and heard now. This is the time Chicago needs to lead the way. We can do this. Don't delay have your ballot counted. Please use your voice and your vote."


Among the high-profile races in this year's election is a showdown between Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Republican challenger Darren Bailey. Both candidates made a final push for votes Monday night.

Pritzker made appearances in Rockford, Springfield, Marion, Moline and Peoria while Bailey delivered remarks in Oak Brook.

There are also several suburban showdowns among the most hotly contested Congressional races.

Illinois voters will also decide Tuesday whether to amend their state constitution to guarantee the right to bargain collectively.

The fate of the ballot measure is being closely watched in Illinois and beyond, as it will gauge public support for the labor movement, which has lost ground for years in conservative-led states. Unions and pro-industry groups say it could signal a new chapter in the struggle over workers’ rights as U.S. union ranks have grown as everyone from coffee shop baristas to warehouse workers seeks to organize.

Business groups and conservatives oppose the measure, saying they think it will drive up taxes, give unions too much power, lead to more strikes and prompt companies to leave for more industry-friendly states.

The Illinois measure requires 60% of those voting on the question to vote "yes" for it to pass or 50% of all votes cast to be in favor of the question.

Click here to locate your Chicago-area polling place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.