CHICAGO — Maybe it’s the 14 candidates for mayor, maybe it’s the bitter cold, but voter turnout in Chicago so far Tuesday is the pits.
That means an already wide-open race becomes even less predictable. Stay tuned to this live blog for the latest Election Day happenings.
If you see any funny business at your polling place, you can tweet us or call 866-OUR-VOTE, a nonpartisan hotline staffed by local attorneys trained by Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a Chi.Vote partner.
10:24 p.m.: Results-a-palooza
Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are headed to a runoff in the mayoral race, Ald. Joe Moore is out in the 49th ward and Maria Hadden is in. Also out: Ald. Joe Moreno and Ald. John Arena. Moreno was defeated by Daniel La Spata and Arena by Jim Gardiner.
7:14 p.m. Daley feeling good
6:52 p.m.: Garry McCarthy is wearing his lucky socks
6:20 p.m.: From lines out the door to a ghost town
Ruby Desjar Des, an election judge in the 35th Ward at Logan Vistas Apartments, 2600 N. Kedzie Ave., said as of 6 p.m. just 200 people out of the precinct’s 837 registered voters had cast ballots.
She said they’ve seen a steady stream of voters starting at 5 p.m., however. Overall, though, today’s turnout doesn’t compare to the November election, when there were lines out the door, according to Desjar Des. – Mina Bloom
5:00 p.m.: Independence Park will be open late
Due to a late opening, Precinct 3 of Ward 45 at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave., will be open until 8 p.m. All other precincts will close at 7 p.m. The Board of Elections also wants to remind you: if you’re in line before 7, you must be allowed to vote.
4:40 p.m.: Young voters (or a lack of them) fueling low turnout
Voter turnout could be headed to a record-low with just 427,294 ballots cast as of 4:30 p.m., said Jim Allen, Board of Election Commissioners spokesman. That means just 26.9 percent of voters have cast a ballot.
The record-low for turnout was in 2007, when 33.8 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
And while young voters packed the polls and gave turnout a sharp boost in November, they simply aren’t showing up Tuesday. Voting groups aged 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 have all seen big drops in turnout while older voters are showing up in numbers similar to the November election.
“It’s really surprising that in a hotly contested race for mayor where there are multiple choices and it seems to be highly competitive that we would have a turnout anywhere near as low as 2007,” Allen said.
Turnout could rise to just a little over 33 percent once all the ballots are cast by March 12, Allen said. He said he’s concerned some voters are waiting until the April 2 runoff to cast a ballot.
The low Election Day turnout doesn’t match the high number of early voting and vote-by-mail ballots that were cast, Allen said, noting voters are changing their behavior.
4:30 p.m.: Will he make it?
Florian Mosincat of Lincoln Square walked past a polling site in the 1st Ward Tuesday afternoon.
As of 4:30 p.m., only 120 voters in West Town’s 36th precinct had cast their ballots.
Mosincat doesn’t live in the area, but said he worries he will contribute to the low turnout if he doesn’t finish up his West Town construction job with enough time to get home. Polls close at 7.
3:45 p.m.: We saw the sign
If we had a nickel every time someone flagged a defaced political sign to us, we’d be able to cover the city and suburbs.
Unfortunately, aside from bad karma, the sign vandals won’t likely face any punishment.
2 p.m. : Low turnout
As of 12:45 p.m., less than 20 percent of voters have cast a ballot in Chicago’s municipal elections as of early Tuesday afternoon, putting the city on track for a record low turnout, Chicago elections officials said.
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, said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners.
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.
– Heather Cherone, The Daily Line
9:30 a.m.: Ed Burke gives candy to poll workers
Ald. Ed Burke (14th) may be in trouble with the feds, but giving candy to poll workers is fair game.
That’s according to Timna Axel, director of communications with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which staffs a nonpartisan hotline where voters can report electoral abuse.
Axel said Burke’s candy giveaway is technically legal — as long as voters aren’t intimidated by the practice. “Ed Burke does it almost every election,” Axel said.
In general, Burke is a fan of giving away goodies to supporters. Last month, 14th Ward residents got Chicago flag beanies from the 50-year alderman. And in the past, he’s handed out ice scrapers, Chicago flag key chains, baseball caps and several Christmas hams with notes saying they’re from Friends of Ed Burke.
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