DeKalb voters crack down on backyard chicken advisory referendum in Tuesday election

Updated 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 6:

DeKALB – Most DeKalb voters are opposed to backyard chickens as of Tuesday night, according to consolidated election tallies.

As of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday with 26 of 26 City of DeKalb precincts reporting, 53.94%, or 1,970 voters within the city voted against having backyard chickens within city limits. Those who were in favor made up 46.06% of the vote, or 1,682 votes.

The tally came after the DeKalb City Council voted, 8-0, in September 2020 to put the question of whether to allow backyard chickens within city limits on the April 2021 ballot. That followed a group of residents wanting to craft such an ordinance forming their social media group in February 2019.

The referendum was an advisory one to allow the City of DeKalb to better assess public opinion on the issue and to see if the majority of DeKalb voters want to keep chickens in their backyard. If the advisory referendum were to pass, the council would have been able to move forward with crafting an ordinance, which will also require a vote.

Doug Johnson, DeKalb County clerk and recorder, said 136 mail-in ballots were outstanding as of Tuesday.

Ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted if they arrive by 14 days after the election. Results will be certified two weeks after Election Day.

Johnson said there were 310 vote-by-mail ballots cast so far for the current election as of 11 a.m. Friday. He said that’s already a more than 68% increase from 2017, which had a total of 184 vote-by-mail ballots, and a 125% increase from 2019, which had a total of 138.

Johnson said there were 2,045 total early-voting ballots cast for the 2017 consolidated election and 696 total ballots for the 2019 consolidated election.

• This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

• Daily Chronicle reporter Katrina Milton and editor Kelsey Rettke contributed to this story.

Katie Finlon

Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.