U.S. President Barack Obama cast his ballot in the 2014 midterm elections on Monday in his home state of Illinois, which is one of 43 states with some form of early voting. The president urged other residents of the Prairie State to follow his example.
“I’m so glad I can early-vote here,” Obama said after casting his ballot at a polling station in Chicago, NBC News reported. The president didn’t say how he voted, but he told a rally on Sunday that he would cast his ballot for Illinois’ Democratic candidates, including Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
Durbin, an early Obama mentor, is considered sure of re-election, but Quinn is in an extremely tight race with Republican challenger Bruce Rauner.
“The first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is cast my vote to re-elect Dick Durbin, and get my friend Pat Quinn four more years as governor of the great state of Illinois,” Obama said Sunday on Chicago’s South Side, according to CBS Chicago. “Starting tomorrow, you can vote, too. You’ve got to grab your friends. You’ve got to grab your co-workers. Don’t just get the folks who you know are going to vote.”
On Monday, the president said other Illinois residents should participate in early voting. “I love voting. Everybody in Illinois: early vote,” Obama said at his polling place, according to Bloomberg. “This is the most important office in a democracy, the office of citizen.”
Obama won’t be on the November ballot, but the president said in a September speech his policies would be. David Axelrod, the president’s former senior adviser, told Politico earlier this month that Obama’s comment was a “mistake” and shouldn’t have been added to his speech.
Republicans have used the line to rally their voters.
“The president said that his policies are on the ballot. If Barack Obama is on ballot and his policies are on the ballot, it’s going to be a pretty bad year for Democrats,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on “Meet the Press.”