Voting at Cook County Jail Sees 40% Turnout for General Election


There is little that’s normal about the 2020 election.

That’s not just because it’s taking place during a pandemic or because of record-high numbers of mail-in ballots.

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It’s also the first cycle that inmates have cast ballots at the Cook County jail.

Many of the jail’s detainees haven’t yet gone to trail; so while they're detained, they're innocent until proven guilty. Until they're convicted of a crime, they maintain the right to vote. 

This year — first in the primary, and again this month leading up to the general election — Cook County Jail has served as an actual polling place. 

It won’t be that way on Election Day itself, but for the past two weekends, the jail’s roughly 5,400 detainees had the chance to cast ballots in person. According to a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart, more than 2,000 did. That’s a turnout of about 40%.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky


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