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YORKVILLE – While numbers of COVID-19 cases increase and various events are canceled due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, Kendall County voting polls will still be open for early voting and Election Day on Tuesday, March 17.
Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette said on Thursday, March 12 that polling places are not closed at this time after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said during a Wednesday news conference there are 25 total cases of COVID-19 in the state. More recent cases outside of Cook County include a Lake County man in his 50s, a teenager with ties to McHenry and Lake counties, and a Kane County woman in her 60s – however, there are still no confirmed cases in Kendall County as of Wednesday afternoon, according to local health officials.
Gillette said what the clerk's office is doing, however, is including disinfecting wipes in its precinct kits so they can be used to periodically wipe down surfaces and pens.
“Just to kind of keep some germs away,” Gillette said.
Gillette said it's hard to say whether early voting numbers have specifically been affected by residents coming in solely out of coronavirus concerns. Anecdotally speaking, she said, some people have commented on that being their rationale.
“But I would say that that number is very small," Gillette said. "Most people don’t say why they’re coming in at all.”
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, March 12, there have been 2,270 early voters in Oswego, 110 in Plano and 1,136 in Yorkville, Gillette said. That's already twice as many early votes as there were in the 2016 presidential primaries in Oswego, well past the previous amount in Plano and the numbers are getting to the previous total in Yorkville, she said.
Gillette said the clerk's office already has been notified by some election judges that they have decided to stay home on Election Day for health reasons. However, she said, that number hasn’t been very large and the clerk's office will still have a lot of election judges assigned to polling places for the primary election.
“So hopefully that won’t impact anything,” Gillette said.
In the meantime, Gillette said she wants to advise the public to continue practicing healthy behaviors, like washing hands for at least 20 seconds and making sure to not touch your face with unwashed hands, and for residents to continue to maintain their own personal health.
“I definitely recommend following what is being put out there” by health officials and news media outlets, Gillette said.