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Voter Turnout for Illinois Primary anticipated to be low

A women at the Chicago Public Library on Belmont Avenue reads a flyer containing information on voting locations.

As the 2012 Illinois Primary elections approach, the city of Chicago faces a potential low turn out of voters.

Chicago’s Board of Election Commissioners reported voter registration in Chicago is at an all-time low for any election, with only 1.28 million voters registered by Feb. 13, eight days before the registration deadline.

Rebecca Davis, a state employee at the Thompson Center, said that she is a Democrat and has no interest in the primary election.

“I have no interest in voting for any of the Republican candidates,” Davis said.

Brad Tippett, a web designer, said the primary season this year has “a lot of entertainment factor.”

“I’d say chaotic, entertaining– but really more like a carnival,” he said. “No I don’t plan on voting in the primary. Basically there’s nobody I feel like I can give my vote to.”

Joe Cain, retired, searched for words to describe this election season. “How would I describe this election? The worst in my lifetime. We might as well live in Syria”

Matthew Brandon, professional poker player, said the campaigns seem unorganized.

“Personally I think both candidates are awful,” he said. “Really, every election I’ve had to vote for so far in my life, It’s like, you pick the better evil. Whoever is less evil.”

Barbara Harris, also a state employee at the Thompson Center, said she thinks it is important for voters to participate in the primary election due to Illinois’ significance this year.

“I don’t think that the Democrats care to vote in the upcoming primary,” Harris said, “but if they do it will be strategic and I think they will vote for the weaker candidate.”

Samir Khan, a law student at the University of Chicago, made a similar point. He said that it is important for everyone to vote in the primary election regardless of party affiliation.

The Cook County clerk offices released information March 8 that the number of its Republican voters participating in early voting for the primary elections has increased by 77 percent since 2008. However, the clerk office reported that ballots being cast by democratic voters have shown a decline of 4,500 fewer ballots compared to 2008.

Early voting for the 2012 Illinois Primary is available through March 15.

Republican candidates visit Illinois before the primary on March 20.

The Board of Election Commissioners said voters registered after the Feb. 21 deadline are allowed to participate in “grace period” voting, but must cast their votes at the election board headquarters on Washington Street rather than local polling locations.

The Illinois general primary election is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 20.


A recent poll released by the Chicago Tribune and WGN showed that Mitt Romney only has a small lead on Rick Santorum by 4 percentage points. Romney is currently leading Santorum 2:1 in the number of won delegates with 495 delegates to Santorum’s 252 according to reports from AP.

However, after Santorum’s recent primary wins in Alabama and Mississippi, the Illinois primary has become more important in the race for the Republican nomination with 54 delegates up for grabs.

Romney said he added endorsements from Sen. Ron Sandack (R-Ill.), Illinois House Leader Tom Cross and 17 other state representatives.

Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Ill.) said she believes Romney is the best person in the running to be president due to his experience.

Sam Bohne, Caitlin Baxa, Merissa Marks, Aspyn Jones and Sarah Salgado contributed to this report.

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