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Local

General election draws record number of absentee voters

Many residents plan to head to the polls for today’s general election, but some residents already have created a record turnout with their absentee ballots.

A total of 7,621 absentee ballots were applied and issued for the general election, according to data from the Kane County Clerk’s Office. That is the highest number of absentee ballots distributed in Kane County for a midterm or gubernatorial election, not including Aurora Election Commission totals.

The clerk’s office issued 5,761 absentee ballots in 2010 and 2,985 absentee ballots in 2006, according to data from the office. During this election, voters will decide between incumbent Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn, newcomer Republican candidate Bruce Rauner, and Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm.

When this year’s grace period and early voting sites from non-Aurora Kane County locations are included, a total of 31,152 ballots have been cast as of Monday morning, with the clerk’s office awaiting 3,655 ballots from voters. Most of the outstanding absentee ballots are mail ballots, according to the data.

“There are quite a few [referendums] on the ballot,” Kane County Clerk John Cunningham said Monday. “I hope people are voting out of knowledge rather than out of anger.”

There are three statewide advisory questions on the ballot. One question asks if the minimum wage for those older than 18 should be raised to $10 by Jan. 1. The second asks if any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage should be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage. The third question asks if the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3 percent tax on incomes greater than $1 million.

There also are a few local referendums in Kane County. Batavia voters will consider a ballot measure to fund capital improvements throughout Batavia School District 101.

If approved, the district would issue up to $15 million in alternate revenue bonds to fund the projects.

Discussion of the Batavia referendum centered mostly on proposed $7.6 million for Batavia High School’s athletic fields, which includes $4.7 million for a multi-use synthetic field.

Farther west in the county, about 3,000 voters are being asked whether they want to disconnect from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District and move into the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District. Those for and against the referendum have posted signs in the affected area supporting their respective positions.

Another local race resulting in yard signs and discussion is that of Kane County sheriff. Kane County Sheriff Lt. Willie Mayes Sr. hopes to replace fellow Democrat and outgoing Sheriff Pat Perez. His opponent is former Kane County Sheriff’s Office Administrator Don Kramer. The County Board District 11 seat also is up for election between Republican John Martin and Democrat Martha Hanna.

The U.S. Senate race on Illinois ballots is between longtime incumbent Dick Durbin and current state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, and Libertarian candidate Sharon Hansen of Pontiac. Other federal races include 6th District, incumbent Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, and Democrat Michael Mason; 11th District, incumbent Bill Foster, D-Naperville, and Republican Darlene Senger; and District 14, incumbent Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, and Democrat Dennis Anderson of Gurnee.

The race for state representative in Illinois District 50 includes Republican Keith Wheeler of Oswego and Democrat Valerie Burd of Yorkville.

Know more

Regular voting for the 2014 General Election will begin at 6 a.m. today and end at 7 p.m. For a list of polling places, visit www.kanecountyelections.org. To learn about the candidates in the Nov. 4 election, visit Election Central at kcchronicle.com/election-central.

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