For anyone who thinks that his or her vote doesn’t count, the Cook County Clerk recently released its voter survey for the April 2005 consolidated election. What it shows is that Riverside candidates running for office on the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 board were at a clear disadvantage.
The reason? Riverside was the only village within the RB boundaries whose races for village president and trustee went uncontested.
And while voter turnout in Brookfield, North Riverside and LaGrange Park wasn’t exactly overwhelming, they blew Riverside away.
According to the Cook County Clerk, Riverside had the 14th-lowest voter turnout out of the 109 Cook County suburbs on April 5, with just 15.5 percent of all registered voters making it to the polls.
Meanwhile, North Riverside and Brookfield checked in with voter turnouts of 42.5 and 41.5 percent respectively, making them the 20th- and 22nd-highest on the Cook County list.
Between those two villages, some 6,620 votes were cast versus just 939 total votes cast in Riverside. That means Riverside accounted for just 12 percent of all the votes cast between the three villages.
And that translated into candidates from Riverside getting swamped in the race for the District 208 board. Six candidates ran for the board, three of them from Riverside, two from Brookfield and one from North Riverside.
Just one Riverside candidate, William McCloskey, won election. McCloskey, however, has strong ties to North Riverside and did well among voters in that village. North Riverside resident Karen Bensfield also benefited from a strong local turnout.
Meanwhile, the two remaining Riverside candidates, Olga Pribyl and Luann Stirek, were the two lowest vote-getters in the race.
Had the school board election taken place in November 2004, a presidential election, the result may have been different. While the Cook County Clerk did not break down voter turnout by municipality for the November 2004 election, it showed that voter turnout in Riverside Township, which draws the bulk of its voters from Riverside proper, was 80 percent. That ranked Riverside Township No. 5 on the voter turnout list in suburban Cook County. By itself, close to 8,200 votes were cast in Riverside Township.
Voter turnout was not as high in Proviso and Lyons townships. Lyons Township (which includes the southern half of Brookfield) turned out 76 percent of registered voters, while Proviso Township (western North Riverside and northern Brookfield) turned out 71.6 percent.