(KFVS/AP) - Illinois election officials say the number of registered active voters in the state is at its highest since 1970.
With just over 10 days left to election day as of Friday, early voter turnout in Williamson County is already higher than totals from 8 out of the last 10 years, according to Williamson County Clerk Amanda Barnes.
"I think we're seeing a lot of first time voters." Barnes said. "People who have never voted before are coming in and voting. There's an interest in this election"
Barnes Says there's often a line out the door every day at the courthouse, and Illinois voters say it's not just the top of the ticket them driving them to voting booths.
"This year is a lot tougher than it has been in the past with the state not passing a budget." Said Marion voter Rebecca Ferguson as she exited the early voting booth on Friday. Ferguson's husband is a construction worker, whose firm is often hired for state projects. "We were really having that layoff laying over our head for a while."
Illinois State Board of Election spokesman Jim Tenuto said Tuesday morning that there are 7.9 million registered active voters in the state. That's more than the 7.8 million who were registered in 2008 before then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois successfully ran for president. That number was the previous high.
Tenuto says that number will likely tip over 8 million before Election Day on Nov. 8. He says 62,000 people registered online over the weekend and the applications haven't been processed yet.
Illinois has grace period voter registration. That means voters can register through Election Day but they must cast a ballot when they register.