The Daily Northwestern

Obama votes early in Chicago

President Barack Obama walks to his helicopter with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after dropping in on the Windy City to vote early Thursday afternoon.

Source: Instagram

President Barack Obama walks to his helicopter with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after dropping in on the Windy City to vote early Thursday afternoon. "Welcome home, Mr. President!" the mayor's office tweeted.

Patrick Svitek, Online Managing Editor

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President Barack Obama took a brief break from a 48-hour campaign blitz Thursday to cast an early ballot in Chicago, making him the first sitting president to vote before Election Day.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Obama tapped his political picks on a touch-screen voting machine at the Martin Luther King Community Center near his former residence in the Kenwood neighborhood, according to a White House pool report.

Obama has spent the past few weeks urging supporters to vote early to ensure their voices are heard in a presidential election all but guaranteed to be won by a razor-thin margin.

“For all of you who have not yet early voted, I just want everybody to see what an incredibly efficient process this was, thanks to the outstanding folks who are at this particular voting place,” Obama told reporters at the community center, according to the pool report. “All across the country we’re seeing a lot of early voting. It means you don’t have to figure out whether you need to take time off work, figure out how to pick up the kids and still cast a ballot. If something happens on Election Day you will have already taken care of it.”

The president was afforded no exceptions at the polling location. While Obama was filling out paperwork, a poll worker asked to see his ID.

“Now, ignore the fact that there’s no gray hair on that picture,” Obama told the voting official, according to the pool report. “I’m just glad I renewed my driver’s license.”

Obama’s trip home lasted less than three hours. After dropping in on a campaign office in Hyde Park, Obama flew out of O’Hare International Airport on Air Force One for a tarmac rally in Cleveland.

Earlier in the day, Obama stumped in Tampa, Fla., and Richmond, Va., as part of a two-day swing through six battleground states.

During a late-night rally in Las Vegas on Wednesday, he offered a playful preview of his early-voting plans.

“I’m going to stop in Chicago to vote,” Obama said. “I can’t tell you who I’m voting for. It’s a secret ballot. But Michelle says she voted for me.”

The first lady mailed her Illinois absentee ballot from the White House earlier this month.

Northwestern students can vote early through Nov. 3 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. The civic center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

— Patrick Svitek

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About the Writer
Patrick Svitek, City Editor

Patrick Svitek was City editor of The Daily. His other past positions include managing editor, online managing editor, Web editor, City editor, assistant...