What Time Will Illinois Primary Results Be Out? The Dust Won't Settle Until Late In The Prairie State

Illinois will vote on March 15 in what has become one of the most contentious primary seasons since, perhaps, 1968. The usually tepid feel of elections in Illinois has been turned up considerably in the wake of the most confrontational political rallies this nation has witnessed in recent memory. Political junkies won't be the only ones on the edge of their seats this time around. So, what time will the Illinois primary results be out? It could be a while before things are settled.

Polls are open in Illinois on election day from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. C.T. The use of electronic voting machines, especially in the densely-populated Chicago metropolitan area, means that preliminary results should be available a relatively short time after polls close. Illinois has the second-highest amount of delegates available on the Democratic side after Florida, and the third-highest on the GOP side after Florida and North Carolina. Whatever the results will be will play an important role in shaping the narrative going into the western states later on in the month, and it's clear that Illinois voters, especially young voters, are enthusiastic about participating in the democratic process, as early voting numbers are showing.

Early voting has been open in the Prairie State since Feb. 4 at temporary polling stations and was expanded on Feb. 29. Some areas, like suburban Cook County, have seen early voting turnout exceed that of 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama swept the state, carrying 64.6 percent of the vote to Clinton's 32.8 percent.

It won't be possible to find out just how many of the early votes went to the Republicans versus the Democrats until everything is counted. Illinois is an open primary, meaning that there could be the potential for upsets on either side, depending on who exactly ended up showing up to the polls and what exactly happened to be weighing heaviest on their mind when they cast their vote. According to Cook County Clerk David Orr, one day before early voting closed on Friday, March 11, 70,000 ballots had been cast. Orr told ABC7 News "We don't usually have both the Democrat [sic] and Republican parties in play by the time Illinois comes, so that's a big factor."

On the Democratic side, new polling from CBS News shows Sanders edging out Clinton 48 to 46 percent. However, the poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, meaning that there is still likely to be plenty of drama on election night as the precinct results roll in. If the diverse student-led disruption at the Trump rally on March 11 was any indication, it is clear that there is also a subsection of outraged — and engaged — voters on the Democratic side of the ticket who have no patience for Trump's divisive rhetoric.

The same polling from CBS/YouGov suggests a tight race on the Republican side as well. Although this is just one data point, it shows that there is a possibility that momentum could finally be turning against Trump. Apparently, Cruz is four percentage points behind Trump, 34 to 38 percent. That same 3.5 percentage point margin of error exists on the GOP side; meaning that the race could effectively be tied.

Whatever ends up happening in the Prairie State, the ramifications will be be felt way beyond the borders of this quintessentially Midwestern heartland state.

Image: Andi O'Rourke (1)