Are local voters suffering from election fatigue? That was one theory some veteran election judges were tossing around today as voters trickled into polling places to decide local races.
In Riverside, where there is no contested election for the village board, one veteran election judge at the Riverside Township Hall said the turnout in his precinct was as low as he could remember. By about 4 p.m., barely 10 percent of registered voters had turned out.
In Brookfield it was little better. At polling places inside Brookfield Village Hall and S.E. Gross Middle School, few voters were present during the afternoon hours. While turnout was expected to pick up as people came home from work, the mid-afternoon numbers showed between 10 and 15 percent turnout in Brookfield, despite contested village and school board elections.
Turnout was brisker in North Riverside, where a contentious, confusing election campaign has churned during the past two months. But even there, turnout was a bit disappointing by mid-afternoon, at about 15 to 20 percent in most precincts. As the afternoon drew on, the pace picked up, particularly at North Riverside Village Commons, which is the polling place for four of the village’s five precincts.
One source of frustration for poll workers in North Riverside was the special ballot that had to be used for residents to cast their votes in the village president, trustee and clerk races.
While the ballots didn’t appear to cause much of a problem at Village Commons, election judges at Komarek School, which is the polling place for the one Proviso Township precinct in the village, were apparently unprepared for the special ballots.
All three judges said the first time they heard about the special ballots was when they arrived at Komarek School this morning. One of the judges described the situation as having been “blindsided.”
Voters were also reportedly confused about the status of write-in candidates in North Riverside. While no candidates appear on the Cook County Clerk’s list of certified write-in candidates and no votes for any write-in will be tallied tonight, members of the Transparency & Accountability in Politics Party were urging people to write in the name of Rocco DeSantis for village president.
It’s unclear how many write-in votes were cast at this point in the evening. According to election judges, voters were writing in choices, though it’s not known how widespread the practice was.