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Massive Decrease in Early and Absentee Voting—in Chicago

11:56 AM, Nov 4, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Illinois Republican party claims early and absentee voting has precipitously fallen since the 2008 presidential election.

According to the numbers, at this point in 2008, there were 260,376 early voters and 304,290 absentee voters. Now, the party maintains, there are 195,064 early voters and 46,232 absentee voters. That's a loss of 57 percent of voters, since the last election.

This, the Illinois Republican party says, is a terrible sign for Democrats.

"Chicago is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party," says Illinois Republican party chair Pat Brady. "You can't get much more solid blue than Chicago and of course it's the President's home base - literally. If voter participation in the President's home base is down 57% from four years ago, the President is in serous trouble nationally."

President Barack Obama's reelection headquarters are located in his hometown of Chicago.

But the numbers provided by the state's Republican party are different than what's appearing in the local papers.

"We believe the Chicago Board of Elections is misrepresenting their numbers in making comparisons to 2008," a spokesman for the Illinois Republican party explains. "According to the numbers we see in the State Board of Elections database, there is a significant fall off in reported absentee voting in city of Chicago. The Chicago Board of Elections is reporting 240k in early voting and claiming it's on track to surpass 2008 - but they're actually combining 2012 Early Voting and absentee voting, and then comparing that sum to 2008's early voting numbers (excluding absentee). There is a significant 57% drop in voter participation in the City of Chicago from 2008 - in the President's hometown.  I'd also point out that despite the Chicago Board's point that early voting is four days shorter this year than in 2008, Illinois recently instituted "vote-by-mail" without an excuse needed, i.e. early voting by mail.  This did not exist in 2008 and should have vastly expanded the numbers."

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