Early voting, which is more high tech than on Election Day, is the wave of the future, according to Madison County Clerk Mark von Nida.

By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 7,500 Madison County voters had already participated in early voting, which started Oct. 22 and ends Nov. 3, he said.

Tom Packard, 64, of Edwardsville, came early, since he is an election judge.

“I think a lot of people are doing it,” he said. “It’s very convenient. You don’t have to stand in line. I think so many people will vote in this election.”

Ruth Tompkins voted early, because she had changed her name.

“It helped me,” she said.

Madison County has a computerized system for early voters.

“You prove who you are with the voter I.D.," von Nida said. "It prevents someone from voting for multiple people or from assuming someone else’s identity."

Early voting is available in Alton, Bethalto, Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Godfrey, Granite City, Highland, Madison Fire Station, Maryville, Southern Illinois University, Troy and Wood River.

Von Nida said Madison County got rid of the punch card voting system when the Help America Vote Act passed in 2004. He said his office used federal funds to buy equipment.

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