Scott and Rock Island Counties tout early voting three weeks before election

ROCK ISLAND -- The calendar reads October 17, 2016, but the Rock Island County Clerk's office is a busy place.

That's where Election Day comes three weeks early for voter Deborah Johnson.

"I wanted to get out early this year, so I did," she said.  "Get it all done.  I think this is a very important election."

So important that satellite voting will expand to four Illinois sites between October 24-November 4, 2016. Satellite voting also started Monday at six Scott County locations.

So far, to date, early voting in Scott County is lagging behind more than 6,000 votes from 2012. Campaign strategy, however, may help to explain that difference.

"I know from one campaign that they were specifically looking at sporadic voters, not those people that vote in every election," said Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz.

Early voting offers a variety of options to counter bad weather or scheduling nightmares on Election Day.

"It prevents voters from standing in long lines on Election Day," said Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney. "The presidential race is front and center."

While Democrats welcomed actress Busy Philipps to tout early voting, Scott County Republicans are also making a big push for satellite voting or voting by mail.

It's a strategy that can help to focus energy where it's really needed in the final weeks.

"If we have 5,000 people vote early in Scott County, then our candidates and the county party does not have to work on getting those 5,000 votes," said Judy Davidson, the Scott County Republican's chair.

In Rock Island County, voter registrations are up nearly 10% from 2012.  That should translate to more votes before November 8th.

Voters stopping by on Monday morning were giving rave reviews to the process.

"Incredibly smooth, some very helpful people here," said voter Kathy Michel, Milan.  "It went very quickly. I was in and out in no time."

Early voting gives campaigns a degree of certainty during a most unpredictable cycle of controversy.

"I think it's a very unclear presidential election," Moritz concluded.  "We'll be trying to figure it out for years to come."

Some voters are getting a head start.

Check out: or for early voting schedules and information.