Eye On Illinois: Early voting numbers indicate many are waiting to cast ballots

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Keeping track of voting statistics day by day is a little bit like watching the estimated Powerball jackpot – a lot of commas and zeroes and seemingly a new high mark around every corner.

Unlike the Powerball, which resets on occasion, voting totals steadily increase, and the only reset comes when we actually finish the election. On Wednesday, the State Board of Elections reported 764,930 ballots requested, 200,084 returned and 49,713 early in-person and grace period voters.

We can’t fully calculate percentage of voters by method while the election is still in process, but we can look backward to see turnout was about 57% in 2018, with 4,625,541 ballots cast out of 8,099,372 registered voters. That was a much better showing than 2014, when registration was shy of 7.4 million and turnout just past 49%.

As of Monday ISBE reported the number of active voters at 8,085,599 – down about 22,000 from the June primary – which means we need more than 4.6 million ballots cast to match the turnout percentage for the last gubernatorial election.

Numbers are significantly better in presidential election years. In 2016, the Illinois turnout was nearly 69 percent with 5,536,280 votes. In 2020, turnout broke 6 million and hit almost 73%. Almost 3.6 million people voted by mail, dropbox or in-person before election day.

In 2018, JB Pritzker got 54.53% of the votes to become governor, beating incumbent Bruce Rauner by 713,995. The raw totals were 2,479,746 for Pritzker and 1,765,751 for Rauner, with 302,160 split across the Conservative Party’s Sam McCann, Libertarian Kash Jackson and 115 write-in votes.

Much can happen between now and Nov. 8, and as someone who hasn’t made up my mind on the full ballot I certainly understand waiting to finalize decisions. Yet hopefully these figures can serve as a reminder for readers to determine how they will vote and activate those plans, especially if the postal service is involved.

ON THIS DAY: Oct. 20 is a banner day for Illinois-born thespians. The list starts with Rex Ingram (born in Cairo in 1895) and Carla Laemmle (Chicago, 1909), both of whom worked in silent films, though Ingram’s career took off with the advent of sound. Sci-fi and “Star Wars” fans should be familiar with Sam Witwer, born Oct. 20, 1977, in Glenview. But those actors’ resumes can’t match Quincy native John Anderson, who started on Broadway and became one of TV’s great character actors, working from 1957 (“Perry Mason”) to 1992 (“Quantum Leap”), ultimately appearing in more than 500 productions. He appeared in the final season of “M*A*S*H” alongside Evanston native William Christopher, born 90 years ago today. For more on Anderson, visit the Historical Society of Quincy & Adams County at hsqac.org.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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October 20, 2022 at 06:05AM

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