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By Tracy Clemons

St. Louis (KSDK) - Early voting kicked off in Illinois Monday, and you can do that all the way up until November 3. Anyone in Illinois planning to vote absentee must have that ballot turned in by Election Day.

Missouri doesn't do early voting, per se, but you have until Halloween to request an absentee ballot, and until the day before the election to turn it in.

This is Jerome Neal's first time voting.

"The experience was refreshing," he said.

While the candidates target undecided voters, Neal and many more like him who have already voted early in St. Clair County had their minds made up.

"I think if you're pretty persistent and pretty sure about who you're going to vote for, then you may as well come do it early to prevent any long lines or altercations or things of that nature," he said.

Early voting is fairly new in Illinois.

"You just come early. You do not need a reason. All you need is a picture ID," said St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney.

He says this is the only time you need an ID to vote there. He says early voting is convenient especially since so many people in Illinois work in Missouri. He says 2008 was a success.

"We had over 13,000 people voted early that would have voted on Election Day. So it does break down the lines. It gives people time to work," said Delaney.

Both Illinois and Missouri allow you to vote absentee. You do have to give a reason when requesting that ballot, but you don't have to give proof.

"This is an honor system, and we figure if you're going to go through the trouble of voting, then you vote," said St. Louis County Director of Elections Rita Heard Days. "But most of the people are very honest about that they're going to be out. It's out of the county, not necessarily out of state, but you have to be out of the county."

While we were with Heard Days, dozens of voters were casting their votes absentee, but in person. She says this is the first year they've had a separate facility from her office for absentee voting.

"Usually they're here and the lobby is packed full of people, there are lines out there, and I remember someone telling me in '08 there were lines to the MetroLink station," she said.

She's hoping Missouri will join its neighbor in allowing early voting.

"I think sometimes it's seen as a partisan issue, but I'm looking at it as a voter's right," she said.

For voting options in Missouri, visit the Secretary of State's website.

For voting options in Illinois, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

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