DeKalb County voter turnout falls short of 10%

Ron Lieving, an election judge for DeKalb Precinct 6, described the voter turnout for Tuesday’s consolidated elections in one word: “horrible.”

Lieving was stationed at the Hopkins Park Terrace Room, which serves voters in DeKalb Precincts 6, 13 and 14.

“Turnout has been very slow, unfortunately,” Lieving said about an hour before the polls were to close. “It’s been quiet here all day.”

Polls were open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at voting locations throughout DeKalb County, and early voting began Feb. 21.

According to unofficial returns, 5,955 people had voted by the time polls had closed, with all of the county’s precincts reporting unofficial totals. With 60,648 registered voters, that put the turnout at 9.82%.

Fewer people voted this year than in the consolidated election of 2017, when high-profile contests such as mayoral races in DeKalb and Sycamore pushed voter turnout to 23%. In 2015 voter turnout was 8%, in 2013 it was 22% and in 2011 it was 12%.

DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson said turnout was “not what we would have liked, but above average for a consolidated election.”

“Although we had some glitches with new machines, by late afternoon, everything was well-running,” Johnson said. “We expect some issues with new machines and software, but what’s important is how we handled it.

“I want to thank my staff, election judges and the people of DeKalb County for a safe, secure election.”

Lieving said that he wasn’t sure why voters weren’t going to the polls.

“Honestly, I don’t have a clue why people don’t show up,” he said. “It takes five minutes to vote, it’s so easy. When you vote, you feel like you’ve made a difference. Even if your candidate didn’t win, you exercised your freedom.”

John Young, who lives in DeKalb Precinct 14, was one those who cast a ballot at the Hopkins Park Terrace Room.

“I always vote, it’s important to make your voice heard,” Young said. “You get the government your voice lets you have. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”