Votes finalized in McHenry County from March primary election; Hendricks prevails as GOP County Board nominee

Voters approve 0.25% sales tax for mental health

A woman walks past campaign signs that line the driveway to the McHenry County Administration Building, an early voting site, on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Woodstock.

With votes finalized after a Monday canvass in McHenry County, the Mental Health Board sales tax has officially passed, and incumbent McHenry County Board member Eric Hendricks will appear on the November ballot, beating out challenger Robert “Bob” Nowak.

Voter turnout came in at about 18%, with an estimated 36,700 voters casting a ballot in the primary. About 3.6% of voters opted to cast a nonpartisan ballot, which allowed them to weigh in on referendums such as the Mental Health Board sales tax but not on candidates.

The majority of voters, 54.3%, pulled a Republican ballot, while 42.2% pulled a Democratic ballot, according to the canvass.

The Mental Health Board sales tax won by about 6 percentage points. About 19,000 voters, or 53%, voted in favor, while about 16,800 voted no. Another 885 voters pulled the ballot but did not vote on the measure.

This means that come July 1, a 0.25% sales tax will be levied on most items in the county, but groceries and medicine will be exempt.

In exchange, county leaders have vowed to remove the portion of the property tax earmarked for the Mental Health Board. It’s on the County Board’s agenda for next week.

A 1% sales tax in Marengo also passed by about 10 percentage points, but many of the other referendums, including a Marengo Park District annexation and home-rule authority for the village of Cary, failed.

The McHenry County Board had two competitive primaries this election.

A rematch took place in District 3, which covers parts of Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood and a piece of Huntley.

Nowak, who was on the board before losing to Hendricks and Democrat Carolyn Campbell in 2022, sought to unseat Hendricks. Hendricks tried to have Nowak’s candidacy thrown out, filing an objection that argued his candidacy papers were invalid because of a typo in the word “Republican.”

Ultimately, the objection failed, but Hendricks still won the race, garnering 808 votes to Nowak’s 766. Another 172 voters did not pick a candidate in the race.

Hendricks will face Democrat Rester Dogboe in the fall. Dogboe earned 116 votes and the Democratic nomination for the seat in a write-in primary campaign.

In District 7, which encompasses Wonder Lake and parts of Woodstock, McHenry and Bull Valley, Paul Thomas won about 65% of the vote, defeating Peter Suffield for the Republican nomination for the seat. Another 248 voters did not pick a candidate in the race.

Thomas will face incumbent Democrat Lou Ness for the seat in the fall.