Illinois records second-lowest primary voter turnout in 40 years
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) — Illinois recorded a 21.7% turnout in the June primary election. The Illinois State Board of Elections said it was the second-lowest primary turnout in 40 years.
Even though there were several major races in this year’s primary, voters in Illinois barely topped the 18% turnout for the 2014 primary.
June 28 was Illinois’ last primary election, which may have confused voters accustomed to voting in March or April. Board spokesman Matt Dietrich said the low turnout could have been caused by the postponement of the election or by people having other plans during the summer month.
The split in this primary was approximately 52% Democratic voters and 46% Republican voters. Council members certified the election results on Friday.
“The overall turnout tends to go up when you have a higher Democratic turnout,” Dietrich said. “There are just more Democratic voters in general showing up in the primaries.”
Sen. Darren Bailey and his running mate Stephanie Trussell received 458,102 votes, or about 57.5% of the Republican vote. The closest Republican candidate for governor was Jesse Sullivan with 125,094 votes or 15.7%.
Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton won 98.9% of the Democratic votes on Beverly Miles. Pritzker received 810,989 votes while Miles reached 71,704 voters.
Dietrich explained that a few jurisdictions had a handful of offices where the Libertarian Party was established and that there were 2,425 Libertarian ballots statewide. However, 2.4% of primary voters decided to take nonpartisan ballots just to vote in local referendums.
Nearly 270,000 people voted by mail for the June primary, which accounted for 15.3% of voter turnout. Dietrich said that was a significant jump from 9.11% of Illinois voting by mail in the 2020 primary. Only 96,875 votes were cast by mail for the 2018 primary, or 4 .6% of the total votes.
Illinois saw 2 million people choose to vote by mail in the 2020 general election. Many elected officials were encouraging people to vote by mail and avoid large crowds this election season as COVID-19 spread to across the country.
“Two years ago people received applications that they could simply sign, complete and return in order to receive an absentee ballot. It also helped,” Dietrich said. “That’s not happening this year. People will be notified over the next few weeks that they can sign up for a permanent mail-in ballot where they will receive a request for a mail-in ballot each election.
Dietrich noted that the primary election went smoothly and the only problems were seen in Chicago, where many election judges failed to show up for work or polls opened later than expected.
Now the focus is on the November elections. The schedule for the Board of Elections, county clerks and county election commissions has been compressed due to the late date of the primaries. The petition objection process is ongoing, and candidates still have the option of seeking judicial review, which could further delay important deadlines.
“You’re trying to certify the ballot by August 26,” Dietrich said. “You have the potential for cases to still be pending in court at this time. Now, we’re optimistic that won’t happen.
Dietrich also said turnout in midterm elections is generally lower when there is an incumbent Democratic governor. However, there is a very competitive race for Secretary of State with Jesse White leaving office after 24 years. ISBE members expect a turnout of 50-55% for the November elections.
People can start applying for mail-in ballots on August 10. Early voting begins on September 29 and general elections are held on November 8.
Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.