2022 Election Primary

Election Day brings out McHenry County voters concerned with low turnout, negative campaigning

Primaries moved to June from early spring due to COVID-19 pandemic delays to census results, redistricting process

Election Judge Steve Krause opens up the voting machines Friday, June 24, 2022, at the McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock. Polls are open from 6 a.m until 7 p.m. today for people to cast their ballot in the in the primary election.

The only real concern Algonquin resident John Blair had about Tuesday’s primary was the negativity spewed during the campaign season.

Blair, 80, who cast his vote in the primary Tuesday morning at Heineman Middle School in Algonquin, said he has seen the worst messages presented by those running for governor.

“I am so sick and tired of the negative stuff,” Blair said after casting his vote at the middle school, where voters slowly trickled in Tuesday morning.

It was a sentiment echoed by 84-year-old Elaine Lock, also of Algonquin, as she exited the school after casting her votes.

“If they can’t have a positive thing to say, then don’t say anything,” Lock said. “I don’t want to hear that stuff; I’ll make my own opinion.”

As of about 11 p.m., 43,635 ballots had been counted, bringing turnout to 19%, according to the McHenry County Clerk’s Office. Of those, 33,992, or 78%, were cast on Election Day, another 8,657 were cast early and 986 were mailed in.

In March 2020, which was a presidential election year, 54,775 ballots were cast, with a turnout of 24%, according to historical election data. Of those, 35,917, or 66%, were cast in person on Election Day while another 16,975 were cast early, 1,384 were sent by mail, and 499 were either provisionally cast or late-arriving, mail-in ballots.

Bill Atkins, 72, of Lake in the Hills, who described himself as an independent who leans toward the conservative side, said he is “spotty” when it comes to voting in the primaries. But he believes that it is everyone’s duty to vote.

Women walk into vote into the McHenry County Fair Association Building in Woodstock to vote in the primary election on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

“It’s unfortunate that as time moves along, I think the country is less inclined to go out and vote,” Atkins said.

So if something occurs in the country that someone does not like and that person didn’t vote, Atkins said, “don’t complain.”

Over in Crystal Lake mid-afternoon, Ravi Saari, 48, and his wife, Elizabeth Saari, 47, of Crystal Lake, shared Atkins’ thoughts.

Ravi Saari said it is important to vote to see any change, especially in today’s negative climate. To those complaining who do not vote, he said, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

The Saaris, who cast their votes at The Salvation Army Crystal Lake Community Center, lived many years in Chicago, where Ravi Saari said his Republican vote “was a waste” because Chicago is predominately Democratic.

He said voting in the primaries is important because it can affect the results of future elections.

“We are hoping for a change of guard,” said Elizabeth Saari, referring to Democrats in office at the federal level, including President Joe Biden.

Her husband followed by adding, “[Biden is] ruining our country faster than any other president has.”

Ravi Saari said he has no complaints about local government and enjoys living in Crystal Lake because it is “nice, clean and safe.” But, he said, he has an issue with the high fines charged in court for traffic tickets.

Ed Kisman, 66, of Crystal Lake, said he believes it is “our responsibility to vote regardless of what election it is.”

Of the typically low turnout in primary elections, he said: “Shame on you for not voting, no matter if it is a primary. You are choosing who will run in the next election.”

After Brent Fergus, 31, of Crystal Lake cast his vote, he said the process went smooth and the change from the primary election from March to June had no effect on him. He said he always votes no matter the election.

“I felt like I needed to vote [because] my vote counts,” he said. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”