DeKALB — DeKalb residents headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the 2022 Illinois primaries, which saw a mix of contested races, referendums and positions yet to be decided.
About the same number of voters turned out Tuesday compared to the 2018 primary election, with 14,329 votes cast out of 59,013 DeKalb County voters, according to the DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder’s Office. That’s a 24% turnout, according to the clerk’s office. More voters chose to cast Republican ballots than Democratic ones, data shows, with 8,681 Republicans voting and 5,446 Democrats voting.
In the 2018 Illinois primary, DeKalb County saw 14,467 voters.
“We’ve changed [the Illinois primary] over to June this year than our usual March date, which is going to make a difference,” DeKalb resident and election judge Tamara Person-Hescott said. “I think people would be more out [in March] since we don’t have college students at this time of year.”
Hescott has been an election judge for about 10 years and said that in her experience turnout is dependent on many things, including who’s on the ballot and if school is in session. This go around, Hescott said she expected to see between 200-300 people cast ballots at the Westminster Presbyterian Church precinct in DeKalb.
DeKalb County election officials said that voting started off smooth and continued that way Tuesday. County officials said about 700 of the about 3,000 mail-in ballots had not been returned yet. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday’s election date in order for them to be counted.
In March, election officials were struggling to fill necessary election judge positions at all precincts but managed to complete the task and be in compliance.
“We have enough to be compliant with the law this election,” said Jessica Rugerio, Chief Deputy of Elections with the DeKalb County Clerk’s Office. “However, we would love to receive some more applications for elections judges for November as the general will likely be much busier.”
DeKalb resident and first-time election judge J. O’Halloran said he started his shift at 5 a.m. and plans to return for the November general election.
Regerio said that primaries typically have lower turnout due to many races being uncontested and to expect polling places in areas with referendums on the ballot to have higher turnouts than others, but current events and the fallout from previous elections have motivated some to come out and vote.
“I vote every election. It’s my duty and responsibility,” DeKalb resident Amy Lantis said. “I feel it’s definitely important to vote locally because our secretaries of state are highly important right now and the secretary of state is going to be our election validator. We need to have somebody in there who has integrity.”
Tuesday’s election results set the stage for the 2022 Mid-term elections, which will take place Nov. 8 across the country.
This story was updated at 10:08 p.m. June 28, 2022 with additional voter turnout data published by the DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.