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Paper ballots help speed up voting at a Rock Island polling place

Voters at one polling place in Rock Island were eager to cast their ballots today. At the Tri-City Jewish Center on 30th Street, election judge, Wally Lofgren, says when the doors opened at 6 am, 75 to 100 people were waiting. At first it took 20-30 minutes to wait and then vote. But he says that increased to 35-40 by 10:00 a.m.

It was hard to find a place to park, and the line of voters snaked through a long hallway, around a corner and into a large room.

Lofgren says it takes longer to use the electronic voting machine than to fill out a paper ballot. "Eight people can vote at one time using paper and pens compared to one at a time with the new machine. We only have one; there's one at each polling location now."

Election judges in Illinois serve from around 5:00 a.m. until after the polls close at 7:00 p.m. Then they stay until all the votes are counted, double-checked and submitted to the county clerk.

Lofgren has served as an election judge for three years. He took advantage of early voting because, "I couldn't be two places at the same time."

(That's Wally in the photo to the right. More photos are posted on the WVIK Facebook page.)