Voter turnout at all-time low

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It was an election that will go down in the history books – for the lowest voter turnout. 

Several counties are reporting all-time low polling numbers. That has a lot of people wondering what’s to blame for the drop in interest.

Traditionally, consolidated elections see less interest from voters, because the races aren’t as high-profile, but even when compared to past consolidated elections, this one stands out. 

“It just don’t get the – the attention, the publicity about the elections, and candidates don’t get the same kind of excitement and publicity from their candidacy,” said Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons.

Ammons says he expected around a 22 percent turnout from voters this consolidated election, but was surprised to see only 13. That’s about 17,000 voters compared to 21,000 in 2015. 

“We need to work on that. I think the candidates need to be a little more engaged if they want to, to get higher turnouts.”

Ford County leaders also predicted higher numbers, but instead, saw the opposite.

“If you look at the turnout in Ford County for the last 3 elections, we’ve had good turnout, it’s increased a little bit, so I was expecting a bigger election,” said Amy Fredericks. 

In fact, only nine percent of Ford County voters showed up at the polls. That’s down from 17 percent during the last consolidated election.

County leaders think a lower interest from voters might be tied to fewer contested races and referendums. Either way, they hope the next one tells a different story. 

“I think this is going to take the support and take the efforts of other entities and other agencies as well, as we look forward to other local elections,” said Ammons. 

Champaign County leaders will be meeting in the next few weeks to talk about ways to encourage more voters to come out in the future.

Sangamon County didn’t see a huge difference from other consolidated elections, but their numbers were still slightly down. Compared to 2015, they dropped about one percent. 

Vermilion County reported its smallest percentage on record, with a 12 percent turnout compared 2015’s 15 percent. 

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