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Early voting has begun

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:20 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013 4:28 p.m. CST

Bureau County registered voters don’t have to wait until April 9 to cast their votes, with more than 200 positions open on area school boards, village/city boards, library boards and townships.

On Monday, Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus said early voting began Monday. Any registered voter, regardless of where they live in the county, can cast an early ballot by going either to the Bureau County Courthouse, 700 South Main St. in Princeton, or to the Spring Valley City Hall at 215 N. Greenwood St., during regular business hours.

At the Bureau County Courthouse, those business hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 25 through April 5, with the courthouse closed on Friday, March 29, for the Good Friday holiday. Also, the Bureau County Courthouse will be open for Saturday voting from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on  March 30 and April 6.

Early voting at the Spring Valley City Hall runs Monday through Friday, March 25 through April 5, with regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, the Spring Valley City Hall will be closed Friday, March 29, due to Good Friday, with no hours for  early voting.

Voters do not have to give a reason for voting early, Hieronymus said. However, they should bring their voter card or driver’s license with them for identification when they go to vote.

Early voting numbers for consolidated elections, like the April 9 election, are not typically as great as the early voter numbers for general elections, Hieronymus said. In the past, early voting for consolidated elections has ranged from 3 percent to 10 percent of registered voters.

In addition to the early voting option, absentee ballot voting has also begun with applications for an absentee ballot still available through her office, Hieronymus said. Once the application is received, her office will return the ballot to the person. All absentee ballots must be postmarked the day before the election, she said.

Looking ahead to the April 9 consolidated election, Hieronymus said she expects voter turnout could vary greatly throughout the county. For instance, in Spring Valley with three candidates running for mayor and 13 people seeking four alderman positions, she would expect to have a good voter turnout. Other communities, in which there are no contested races, the voter turnout will no doubt be less.

Hieronymus said she hopes Bureau County will average at least a 30 percent voter turnout when voters head to the polls on April 9.

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