URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Early voting for the primary consolidation election began Thursday morning at the Brookens Administrative Center.

The polls opened at 8:30 a.m. for in-person voting inside the Lysle Shield Room.

The contested race in Champaign is for the township supervisor position. In Urbana, the races are for mayor, city clerk, and aldermen Wards 1-5, and 7.

You have to live in Champaign, or Urbana, to vote in this consolidated primary election.

County Clerk Aaron Ammons says you can also request a mail-in ballot now.

“The vote-by-mail process, you have to have two judges from each party. Right now, there’s a panel of three judges, two from one party and one from another, who has to verify the signature,” he says. “That is not the case when you come vote in-person. Only one judge checks you in and verifies your signature. So, there’s a lot of misinformation about vote-by-mail being less secure when in actuality it’s more secure.”

Ammons says 5,000 people usually vote in local elections, but 2,000 people have already requested mail-in ballots. He hopes that means more participation this time around.

The county clerk says he’s still waiting on clearance to see if drop boxes can be used again this election.