Illinois Polls Open with Minor Problems So Far

March 20, 2012

Only minor problems are being reported from Illinois polling places several hours into the primary election.

A power outage in Wheeling caused voters to use paper ballots in several precincts. One Chicago precinct may stay open an hour later because of a problem delivering ballots.

Election officials in several areas say turnout has been very light so far.

The unusually warm weather is pleasing to poll watchers working outside. Cook County Clerk David Orr says instead of freezing, they're "happy as clams.'' Voters are weighing in on presidential nominees in the Republican primary. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum campaigned in Illinois on Monday.

Voters also are deciding on congressional and legislative races that could shape Illinois politics for years to come.

Meanwhile, voters in central Illinois are taking advantage of the rare chance to weigh in on a presidential nomination before anyone has it locked up.

Richard Zellers of St. Joseph, just east of Champaign, says he voted for one reason: In his words, "to get President Obama out.'' The retired Kraft foods worker says he voted for Rick Santorum. But he adds that "if a frog was running against Obama'' he'd vote for the frog.

Santorum campaigned in Illinois on Monday, and the former Pennsylvania senator pleaded with supporters to head for the polls and take other people with them. It was an acknowledgment that a big turnout by anti-Mitt Romney conservatives was key to him winning in a state that's traditionally been friendlier to moderates.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. across the state.

Story source: AP