Skip to contents

Chicago Could Have Record Low Turnout Unless There’s A Late Surge At The Polls, Officials Say

Without a late surge of voters to the polls after work, the city may break the record for low turnout set in 2007 at 33.08 percent.

Florian Mosincat, of Lincoln Square, walks past a polling site in the 1st Ward.
Hannah Alani / Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

Get more in-depth, daily coverage of Chicago politics at The Daily Line.

DOWNTOWN —Just 26 percent of registered voters have cast a ballot in Chicago’s municipal elections as of 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, putting the city on track to just miss setting a record for low turnout, Chicago elections officials said.

Without a late surge of voters to the polls after work, the city may break or tie the record for low turnout set in 2007 at 33.08 percent, said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

ELECTION DAY LIVE BLOG: Updates from across the city

Voters 55 and older make up a majority of those who cast a ballot Tuesday, as well as by mail and during early voting, Allen said.

Younger voters that turned out to vote in the November elections have shown no sign of flooding the polls again, Allen said. Nearly 189,000 voters age 25-34 cast a ballot in the November election, with state and federal offices up for grabs.

In this election, only 51,000 voters age 25-34 have cast a ballot — a drop of more than 30 percent, Allen said.

“Hey, millenials, it is time to vote,” Allen said.

Allen encouraged voters to head to the polls, rather than waiting to see which candidates advance to a runoff, which will take place April 2 if necessary.

“Your vote will never count more than it does now in Chicago history,” Allen said.

Voters expecting to cast a ballot for their preferred candidate may be out of luck if he or she does not make the runoff, Allen said.

Officials reported a smooth day of voting, but with several hiccups.

The polling place at Independence Park in the 45th Ward opened approximately two hours late amid problems setting up the equipment. Elections officials will ask a judge to allow that polling place to stay open late to allow the 12 to 20 voters who were turned away to return, Allen said.

Two election judges were removed by officials – one in the 26th Ward was removed after complaints from other poll workers that she was pushing voters to cast their ballot for a specific aldermanic candidate. She made racist remarks before being removed, Allen said.

In the 34th Ward, a judge was removed for “verbally abusing” other poll workers, Allen said.

Near the 12th Ward polling place at Hoyne Park, there was a report of shots fired and police stopped a car suspected of firing the shots toward a person, Allen said that person declined to cooperate with police.

There is no indication that the incident was election-related, according to Allen.