Sign directing voters at Civic Center on Monday.

Today is the last chance to vote early, in-person in the 2023 Evanston City Council and in the District 202 and District 65 school board elections.

Despite having only two aldermanic races on the ballot (2nd and 9th wards) along with the school board races, in-person turnout going into the final early voting day Monday is slightly ahead of the last municipal/school election in 2021, 2,548 vs. 2,473.

The similar numbers may just mean that those who vote early all the time are doing it again this year, despite fewer aldermanic contests and no race for mayor.

So it was with Joel Dyer, who voted Monday morning at the Civic Center, the only early, in-person site in Evanston.

“I wanted to get it out of the way and take advantage of voting early,” explained Dyer, who said he is a regular voter, regardless of what’s on the ballot.

Neal Weingarden was also at the Civic Center, passing out sample ballots as a volunteer for the Democratic Party of Evanston.

Neil Weingarden.

Weingarden said that getting the message out these days is different than in years gone by, because “the entire campaign cycle begins two weeks earlier because you have to prepare for mail-in ballots.”

Mail-ins, along with early in-person balloting means there are basically two weeks of Election Days.

But with one early, in-person day to go before Election Day itself, candidates were out searching for every vote.

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) and District 65 School Board candidate Ndona Muboyayi were at the Civic Center on Monday, looking for support.

Harris, who was appointed to fill a vacancy, said “this is my first time” running for an office.

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) speaks with a voter.

“Regardless of what happens,” Harris said, “I feel good.”

Harris is running against Darlene Cannon and Patricia Gregory.

The total early, in-person vote two years ago was 3,047. So there’s at least the chance of meeting or exceeding that amount this year.

The number of mail-in ballots requested this year has exceeded the 2021 count.

The County Clerk’s office tells Evanston Now that as of 10 a.m. Monday 7,300 requests have come in. That compares with 6,335 in the last election.

In that 2021 campaign, 4,558 of the requested mail-in ballots were actually returned. So far this year, it’s only 2,460.

That number will go up, as mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day will still be counted if they arrive at the clerk’s office within the following two weeks.

But even with combinining early in-person, mail-in, and Election Day ballots, total turnout is expected to be light.

Two years ago, Evanston turnout (including the school district portions in Skokie) was only 23%.

That was a flood compared to the overall suburban Cook County’s 16% rate in 2021.

Early-in person voting continues at the Civic Center through 7 p.m. today.

On Election Day, Tuesday, the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at various locations.

Evanston Now will have the results Tuesday night.

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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