While there are still provisional ballots left to be processed and counted, the turnout for Tuesday’s municipal elections looks like it might be lower than in previous years.
As of election night, 57,092 votes had been counted out of 439,720 registered voters in Will County for a turnout rate of just under 13%, a low mark for elections with already typically low turnout numbers.
Two years ago – the last time municipal elections were held in Will County – about 18% of registered voters turned out.
During the previous seven municipal elections in Will County, turnout was about 18 percent six times, in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017.
Charles B. Pelkie, a spokesman for the Will County Clerk’s Office, called this year’s turnout “incredibly low” and added that other counties across the state saw similarly low turnouts. Unofficial turnout numbers from Tuesday in Grundy, Kendall, DuPage and Cook counties were all below 15%.
Pelkie also called the turnout numbers “disappointing” and lower than expected, especially considering the candidates elected on Tuesday to various government positions will collectively determine the local taxes for residents across Will County.
Although voters had a choice for their local trustees or council members, a number of incumbent mayors ran unopposed, including Bob O’Dekirk in Joliet, Missey Moorman Schumacher in Channahon, Doug Jenco in Elwood, George Yukich in Homer Glen and Tim Baldermann in New Lenox.
Pelkie said the clerk’s office will continue its efforts in public outreach for future elections, especially in trying to register voters.
“I think the next step is to get out into the community and make certain that we create a voter awareness campaign,” Pelkie said.
Still, Pelkie added that the election ran smoothly with no major issues, and that Clerk Lauren Staley-Ferry was very pleased with how staffers handled the process.
On election night, the clerk’s office posted results from Tuesday and early votes received through Sunday. To be counted, mail-in ballots had to be posted by Tuesday, so the clerk’s office is still waiting on some to come in and be counted. Pelkie said he expects the turnout numbers to tick up after all the provisional and mail-in ballots are counted.
According to the clerk’s website, provisional ballots will be counted April 16 and the election results will become official