Illinois primary 2022: Why was voter turnout so low?

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Whether it was voting in the city or suburbs, turnout for the Illinois primary was low. While expected in a non-presidential year primary, election officials said the numbers still

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Whether it was voting in the city or suburbs, turnout for the Illinois primary was low. While expected in a non-presidential year primary, election officials said the numbers still could have been much better.

"I think it is tough with voters, who know primaries are generally in March, that this one was in the middle of summer, there are a lot of voters that have their minds of summer vacations kids out school," said Max Bever, Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson.

MORE: Illinois Primary 2022 Election Results

Chicago turnout was just over 20%. Suburban Cook County roughly the same. Without a contested Democratic gubernatorial race, the numbers did not come as a big surprise to county election officials. However, how voters cast their ballots was surprising.

Predictions of higher early voting and mail ballots proved not to be the case.

"I think the Roe v. Wade issue and contested congressional races brought out higher turnout on Election Day than we anticipated," said Edmond Michalowski, Cook County Deputy Clerk of Elections.

RELATED: IL primary results pit Darren Bailey against JB Pritzker

While accessibly to voting has increased, overall, turnout was lower than two years ago and low numbers have ramifications

"Especially in Cook County, where a primary indicates a winner because Democrats reign, people don't have a second chance but to vote," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

DuPage County had the largest turnout in the Chicago area, slightly higher than Cook and Chicago with number just over 22%. DuPage Election officials credited, in part, a new program called Vote Anywhere on Election Day

"We have a new ballot system where the ballot is printed right on demand and so a voter can go to any polling place out their name and address and get a freshly printed ballot," said DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek.

Continuing to make voting easier and outreach is the plan as election officials turn to November.

In the meantime, Chicago and Cook County elections officials are hopeful state lawmakers legislature will push the next primary back to its original time in the late winter or early spring.