It will be interesting – and probably disappointing – to see the turnout numbers for tomorrow’s primary election.
Locally, La Salle County Clerk Jo Ann Carretto is hoping for countywide turnout in the low to middle 20 percentile. Compared to four years ago, though, registration is down about 800 voters and there was an 18.5-percent turnout that year, she said.
The 2006 primary election is an appropriate comparison because that was the last time there was both a gubernatorial and U.S. Senate race in Illinois; there were contested La Salle County races, too. There aren’t any contested county races this time, though, except for the Republican primary for La Salle County Board member Stephen Carlson’s District 2 (Mendota) seat.
Statewide, the only real contests seem to be between the gubernatorial candidates for both the Democrats and the Republicans. The U.S. Senate primary races appear to be sewn up by Alexi Giannoulias on the Democratic side and Mark Kirk on the Republican side. Yes, there is the lieutenant governor’s race, but frankly, I doubt that contest gets anyone excited to head to the polls.
The saving grace for voter turnout in La Salle County will be the Ottawa referendums. The Central School bond issue should draw many residents of Ottawa Elementary School District to the polls. It will be interesting to see if the La Salle County Forest Preserve District referendums (for disconnection in 11 townships and reconnection in two townships) draw a lot of voters to the polls, too. I’m guessing they won’t, but I hope to be proven wrong so the outcome of those referendums send a clear message about the forest preserve, for or against it.
Frankly, I hope Carretto is wrong, too – I always hope for a large turnout, especially in the current political climate in which so many people feel free to complain about government but don’t do anything about it.
And the county clerk hopes her prediction for voter turnout falls short, too.
“I would love to be wrong,” Carretto told me. “I would love to see 40 percent of the county come out and vote.”
So go out and vote on Tuesday, Feb. 2 – you know you want to prove us wrong. That’s just human nature.