By KEVIN BESSLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — With Illinois’ primary election day less than a week away, early voting continues to lag.
This is the latest the primary election has been held in Illinois in nearly 100 years. The primary is usually held in March but was moved to June 28 because the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau numbers needed for redistricting were late.
McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said voter turnout for the 2018 primary was in the neighborhood of 26%, and she expects the number to be lower this year.
“We’ll see, but in the primaries you know people just haven’t made up their minds yet, and I hear a lot of that now more than I’ve heard in the past as well,” said Ms. Michael.
Even with primary races for governor, secretary of state and U.S. congressional seats up for grabs, voters are showing little interest.
Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said the later primary date for Illinois may be contributing to the lack of interest in voting.
“I really believe with the change from March to June for the primary election itself that it has thrown individuals off,” said Mr. Ackerman.
Although as of Tuesday early voting numbers were behind 2018 totals, he expects heavier traffic as the week goes on. He said there is a noticeable increase in mail-in voting from 55 in 2018 to 488 already this year.
An expensive Republican gubernatorial primary is drawing a lot of attention. With six candidates on the ballot, recent polling indicates it’s between state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia; Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan. Others running are business owner Gary Rabine; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, and attorney Max Solomon.
The 15th Congressional District has a Republican primary faceoff as well, with U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Compton, pitted against each other after the state lost a congressional seat because of population decline.
Voters have until Thursday to request a mail ballot. To be counted, your mail ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive within 14 days after.
The Illinois state-wide primary election is June 28. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.