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‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ says Early Voting official Linda Powell

Record-breaking numbers of voters show up each day of Early Voting so far

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (October 23, 2020) – It might be considered normal to see long lines at the polls on the first day of Early Voting—which was Monday, October 19, this time. But for those lines to reappear day after day is remarkable. Already in the first five days of Early Voting at the Lansing Public Library, voter totals have surpassed the numbers who came out during the full 15 days of Early Voting at the Lansing Public Library in March 2020. The daily totals so far are:

  • 10/19/2020—435
  • 10/20/2020—435
  • 10/21/2020—479
  • 10/22/2020—505
  • 10/23/2020—536

These five-day counts total 2,390. The number of voters during the 15 days of March 2020 Early Voting was 2,251.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said election official Linda Powell, who has served at the Lansing Public Library for several years. The constant flow of voters has kept the team busy for long days, and their experience makes them efficient, even in the face of the necessary COVID accommodations.

Early Voting
Scott Doherty (far right) was first in line for Early Voting Friday morning, October 23. He was soon joined by (from left) Christopher Cox, Malik Flowers, Brittany Biesboer, and Marvin Metzger. Doherty said this was his sixth time trying to vote, but he had been turned off by the long lines each time he drove past. An early riser anyway, he brought a lawn chair to the library doors just before 7:00am. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Early Voting
Pouring rain on Friday morning did not deter voters. The line still stretched to neighboring Grace Church. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Early Voting
Zandra Dixon (far left) was last in line for a few moments—until a car dropped off a few more voters who lined up behind her. Dixon prefers Early Voting because it’s usually quicker than waiting in line on Election Day. This year, however, everything is different. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Early voters
Once inside the library, the line loops around the edge of the main lobby area and into the polling area in the Quiet Room, in an effort to accommodate as many people as possible while maintaining 6 feet between them. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Linda Powell and Clarice Pittman
Linda Powell (left) and Clarice Pittman are experienced election officials. They love serving in Lansing because the library atmosphere is so nice and the team is so organized. (Photos: Melanie Jongsma)
Early Voting
This is the first time that Wayne Lane has taken advantage of Early Voting. “I just kind of want to get it over with,” he said, “And it’s not going to get any better later.” (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Early Voting
Michael Townsend is voting early because he thinks this is an important election. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Early Voting
“I work for the voter,” says Poll Watcher Mike Thomas. His job is to make sure no electioneering happens within the bounds of the polling place, to assist if equipment breaks down, and to answer questions about the process. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.

Note: This post was inadvertently deleted from our server and has been recreated using files from the media library. Any readers who happen to have downloaded or printed a copy of the original are invited to contact Melanie Jongsma with the information: [email protected].


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.