Election turnout ‘terrible,’ La Salle County clerk says

In Bureau County, turnout much better

Ken Hanford, of Peru, inserts his ballot into a voting machine at St. Johns Lutheran Church in Peru on Tuesday April 6, 2021.

La Salle County Clerk Lori Bongartz predicted an election turn out of about 20% to 21%.

It turns out that prediction was too optimistic countywide.

By Tuesday’s end, 15.3% of the county’s registered voters had cast votes. Bongartz said there are at maximum 119 mail-in ballots that if postmarked correctly may arrive at the clerk’s office within the next two weeks and be counted.

That 15.3% mark comes with no contested municipal elections in La Salle, Ottawa, Mendota, Marseilles and Oglesby — however, in Peru precincts where there was a hotly-contested mayoral race and contested races down the ticket, election judges were reporting some of the highest vote totals they’ve seen.

“Isn’t it terrible?” Bongartz said.

Peru’s precincts accounted for 2,921 of the 11,271 votes cast, drawing a 40.2% turnout. In Utica, there was a 43.3% turnout as 642 of the 1,481 registered voters cast turned in ballots.

In the 2019 consolidated election, La Salle County drew 22.9% of registered voters to the polls and in 2017 22.3% of registered voters.

Meanwhile, neighboring Bureau County turned in a 24.3% turnout. The five-candidate Spring Valley mayoral race, a Ladd mayoral race and a few contested races in Princeton helped drive citizens to the polls.