Huge Early Voting Crowds Draw Fire Marshals

12/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Election officials counting ballots throughout Illinois say the state has set a new record of more than 821,000 early votes cast.

Authorities say that includes almost 484,000 early voters in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

The previous state high was set during the February primaries, when about 220,000 people voted.

Cook County Clerk David Orr says election judges alarmed by large crowds called fire marshals to several polling places Thursday.

Orr attributes the turnout to enthusiasm for Illinois Democrat Barack Obama. He calls it the "Obama effect."

There are 7.7 million registered voters in Illinois. This is the first time early voting has been an option in the state for a general election.

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