The line of voters snaked out the back door of the Morton Civic Center, along the parking lot, up a side street, and down Ridge Avenue as early, in-person voting for the 2020 presidential election began this morning in Evanston and the rest of suburban Cook County.

Alex Finnegan was near the back of the line, but Finnegan said he wanted to vote in person. “I don’t want any postal delays to impact my vote” he said, explaining why he is not mailing in his ballot.

Gwen Duthie had a more procedural answer. Duthie had just gotten married and changed her last name. She wanted to make sure the paperwork and the signature with her new name matched correctly so her vote would not be tossed on a technicality.

There is a way to bypass the long line. If you have requested and received an early vote ballot, you can fill it out at home, put in into the official envelope you received, and take the ballot to the Civic Center. Then simply bring your completed ballot inside and put it in the secure drop box. There are 50 such secure boxes in various locations around Cook County.

Of course, you can also mail in your absentee ballot, or vote in person on election day if you choose not to vote in person early.

Extra health precautions are being taken at the voting site due to the coronavirus pandemic. High contact surfaces are cleaned regularly, and hand sanitizer is available. Masks are required in the building as well as outside on the line, and social distancing is encouraged.

Early voting hours at the Civic Center are as follows:

  • Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Nov. 2.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Nov. 1.

On Election Day, Nov. 3, the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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