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*** UPDATED x1 - Sherman to leave the country after loss *** Low turnout has big costs per vote

Thursday, Apr 7, 2011

* Fifty bucks a vote? Wow

Tuesday’s aldermanic runoff election was expected to cost Chicago taxpayers about $50 for each vote cast.

The chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said relatively few were turning out to cast ballots. Based on the number of votes cast as of 4 p.m., Langdon Neal said he foresaw a turnout of about 23 percent in the 14 wards conducting runoff elections

Neal estimated the runoff contests would cost taxpayers about $5 million, perhaps as much as $6 million. Divide that by the number of votes likely to be cast – about 100,000 of the 409,707 registered in the 14 wards. The result: the election was likely to cost about $50 a vote.

Neal estimated voter turnout would be barely 10-12 percent in South Side wards 15 and 16. The highest turnout was expected to be just above 30 percent in North Side wards 41, 43 and 50.

February’s first round saw a 43 percent Chicago turnout.

* But if Chicago’s ward average of 23 percent turnout was bad, others were worse

Kane County voters have set an election record, but it is not an achievement County Clerk Jack Cunningham is proud of.

Voter turnout was about 13.17 percent – a new low, he said. According to online county records, the prior record was 19.34 percent, which was set in 1987.


Voter turnout in DeKalb County for Tuesday’s consolidated election was 11.53 percent, according to unofficial results from the county clerk’s office. Of the 57,823 registered voters in the county, 6,668 voted Tuesday.


. Despite changes in Illinois law that allow people to vote in a more convenient time and manner, less than one in 10 registered voters showed up in Aurora. Less than one in 8 showed up in Kane County.


Voter turnout in McHenry County might have hit an all-time low.

Only 12.55 percent of the 202,494 registered voters in McHenry County cast their vote in Tuesday’s election, McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz said.


Tuesday’s election saw only 2,081 ballots cast or 11% of Niles’ 18,769 registered voters.


Just under 15 percent of Lake County’s registered voters cast ballots Tuesday

* The low turnout may have had a big impact in DuPage County

While a historic number of DuPage County voters took the day off from the political process on Tuesday, the few who went to the polls made their opinions very clear.

The small electorate ousted incumbents, ignored the endorsements of entrenched local political parties and rejected any hint of a tax increase.

“There was an anti-incumbent wave even though voter turnout was low,” said Phillip Hardy, an assistant political science professor at Benedictine University in Lisle.

Only 16.4 percent of DuPage’s 559,603 eligible voters cast ballots on Tuesday — the lowest percentage in the 30-year history of the county’s consolidated elections.

* The SJ-R editorialized today against the city’s weird primary system, which, under state law, allows four candidates to advance to a runoff

In fact, concerns about the four-candidate field creating needless distractions played out much as the critics envisioned. That’s why we support a bill sponsored by Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, that would bring back the previous system, in which the top two finishers in a primary advance to the general election.

Numerically, Tuesday’s election almost mirrored the primary results. Mike Houston and Sheila Stocks-Smith finished first and second in both. Houston also nullified our theory about party-backed candidates having an inherent advantage. He handily won the primary election over GOP-endorsed Mike Coffey, who finished third in both the primary and general elections.

In the general election, the public spat that ensued after GOP Chairman Tony Libri withdrew party support for Coffey provided a sideshow that distracted significantly from discussion of issues. (On the plus side, it also presented a fascinating look into political operations behind the scenes of a “nonpartisan” election.) Stocks-Smith attempted to push Houston into the Coffey-Libri fray, claiming independence for herself despite fundraising help from the most powerful Democrat in Springfield, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Kudos to candidate Frank Kunz, who mostly stayed out of it.

Finally, a voter turnout of 28.15 percent puts to rest our initial hope that more candidates might equate to more voters.

*** UPDATE *** The elections did have one big impact. Well-known atheist activist Rob Sherman is leaving the country after losing a local campaign

After garnering just 18 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election for Buffalo Grove Village clerk, Sherman said he’s not sticking around.

He declared that after his daughter graduates from Buffalo Grove High School this spring, he will move to the Cayman Islands.

“I’ve been planning this for the last two years,” he said. “I would have stuck around if the residents had wanted me.”

* Related…

* Peoria voter turnout shows mixed results: Only 11,962 of 68,429 voters in the city participated. That’s 17.48 percent - slightly closer to 15 than 20.

* More ballots to be counted in tight 45th Ward alderman’s race

* Meet Chicago’s newest aldermen

* Chicago City Council: The more things change - Some newly elected aldermen have links to the past

* A Hastert returns to Valley politics

* McQueary: Winners and losers in Tuesday’s races

* Vote count goes on in several unusual races: In the Blue Island Park District Board race between a write-in candidate and a woman who recently died, more write-in votes were cast than ballots for the late commissioner, Joanne Ring.

* Wisconsin Supreme Court election: Republican, Democrat neck and neck - A recount is said to be inevitable in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election that has come to represent the battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s unions measure. Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg has a small lead over conservative Justice David Prosser.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    If you’re one of the few who participate in local elections, you can’t say your vote or activity don’t matter. Decisions are made by those who show up.

  2. - Stones - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 9:49 am:

    It’s an old chiche’ but those who don’t vote have no right to complain.

  3. - Cal Skinner - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 9:56 am:

    With that low a vote anyone could have won pretty much any race.

  4. - MikeMacD - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:09 am:

    Of the 6 races on the ballot at the precinct I worked 4 were uncontested. We had 47 voters come in all day. 1 voted early. The other precinct at our location had only 10 voters for the day.

  5. - amalia - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:09 am:

    the differences in the percentage of registered voter turnout in wards differed greatly in the city. bet the high turnout areas wish services could be based on voter interest.

  6. - shore - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    there should never be a complaint about the cost of an election. the alternative is far worse.

    On the plus side, one of the best stories is the continued improvement of the pace of vote counting. Hopefully we’ll one day reach a point where we get instant results.

  7. - mokenavince - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:12 am:

    It seems to me civics is not taught in school, as much as it used to be. This trend downward is nothing new,I’ve noticed it for the last 20 years or so. We are ending up with half baked politicans
    and fleckless leadership. With all this social
    media it seems voting has lost it’s importance. We
    spend our time chatting, and we think it’s what counts in reality,our right to vote is what truly
    counts. Let’s Go White Sox!

  8. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:16 am:

    As a testament to how ticked off voters are-I look to the 36th ward. In low turn out elections it is usually the guy with the organization who has the advantage but Rice got trounced.

    In the 45th, Arena seemed to come on strong at the end by using union money to dirty his opponent. I would think the remaining absentees would favor Garrido because they were sent before the mud really hit. I would look for that 29 vote total to shrink. I don’t think it will be eliminated but if it does get smaller, I’m not sure how a candidate wouldn’t do a recount.

    Maybe SEIU will pay for it in the interest of fairness. After all , they managed to brand Garrido as responsible for the parking meter fiasco and someday being a double dipper-so I think they owe him one.

    If Arena does win-he kinda-sorta ought not look in the mirror for a while. He won’t not like what he sees.

  9. - Nagidam - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    As for Sherman: Cayman Island’s loss Illinois gain. What a true idiot.

  10. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    If Sherman has been planning to move to the Caymans for two years, then why did he even run for office?

  11. - piling on - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    Lucky for Mr. Sherman the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has an online relocation guide complete with a guide to local churches:

    Picturesque little churches dot the Cayman landscape, and are as varied as they are numerous. Since the first missionaries arrived in the 1830s, religion has played a vital role in the life of the islands; there are now more than 90 different churches, representing almost every denomination. Worship Centres are listed below for your convenience.

  12. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    Shore is absolutely right, the cost of elections is trivial. What I don’t understand is why all the various times of elections cannot be combined into a spring primary and a fall election. Why were not these municipal elections held during the November 2010 elections. At that point, since there is a primary built into these general elections, we can have party primaries at the local level and do away with this “(Fill in your favorite claptrap word) United” parties.

  13. - Aldyth - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    Having had dealings with Sherman years ago, I can honestly say that the things that will make him happy and fulfilled can certainly be found in the Cayman Islands. Much more so than the things in Illinois that make him miserable.

  14. - dupage dan - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:27 am:

    I know a few atheists and all seem puzzled by the ferocity of Sherman’s rhetoric/activity. They are not troubled by images, icons and religious content. They are troubled by Sherman. Buh bye.

  15. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 10:43 am:

    Sherman should have left two years ago, the people BG would have adios’d long ago…..Maybe he could take Cal Skinner and Adam Ant wil him.
    Hopefully he will leave his daughter behind so she can live in peace.

  16. - Elmhurst - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    Like many crank/gadfly types, Sherman was a walking, talking setback to his cause.

  17. - RMW Stanford - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 12:58 pm:

    Why does Rob Sherman strike as the type when he was a kid and didn’t get way, would grab up his two and scream I am going home at the top of his lungs?

  18. - Obamarama - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    On my ballot Tuesday, I didn’t have a single race where I had more choices than vacancies.

    I almost felt guilty taking my sticker. “I Voted… Kinda”

  19. - Responsa - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    ==Hopefully he will leave his daughter behind so she can live in peace==

    Rob Sherman’s child/children have taken up some of his “causes”. It’s been reported in the local news from time to time. I wouldn’t assume that with Rob in the Caymans we have necessarily heard the last of the Shermans.

  20. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Apr 7, 11 @ 3:15 pm:

    Note to self: take the Caymans off my bucket list.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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