Illinois Primary 2018: Large majority of voters stay home on Election Day

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One election official describes fisticuffs at Southwest Side Chicago precincts where there are hotly-contested races. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
Despite a sharp surge in early voting leading up to Tuesday's primary, actual Election Day turnout was sluggish according to Chicago area officials.

City of Chicago turnout was estimated at about 26 percent late Tuesday afternoon - a low figure, but not as bad as the primary four years ago.

"I am surprised," said Cook County Clerk David Orr, where turnout struggled to reach 25 percent. At 6 p.m., the county estimated turnout at 23 percent.

Clerk Orr emphatically said the low turnout might be because of lies told by all candidates in TV commercials. He says the false political ads have suppressed voter turnout "because it makes you think that they're all bad."

In one pocket of precincts southwest of downtown Chicago, Orr said there was blood in the streets after fisticuffs between campaign workers and supporters in several hotly contested races.

Chicago police confirmed there was one brawl involving the 12th Ward chief of staff and an unidentified person. The incident at 36th and Hoyne was a "fight over signs" according to a CPD spokesperson and no one was charged because both were listed as offenders and victims and their stories conflicted.

That incident, and other violence described by Orr, was a throwback to old-time Chicago when polling place thugs ruled the day with kidnappings and ballbats.

In 1928, Chicago experienced what became known as the "Pineapple Primary" because there were dozens of bombings with hand grenades that resemble small pineapples.

The candidates for top Illinois offices in Tuesday's election are closely watching turnout figures from across the state. In some races, a low turnout is expected to help certain candidates and hurt others.

ABC 7 will have live coverage of all the big races with updated results throughout the night. You can watch online and on the ABC 7 Chicago News App and we'll have the latest on Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
Related Topics:
politicsvotingprimary electionelection 2018vote 2018I-TeamCook County
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