POST-TRIBUNE | JUN 04, 2020 | 4:54 PM
Lake County voter turnout for the 2020 primary election came in at 23.8%, which, given the COVID-19 pandemic, doesn’t surprise election officials or political party leaders.
By comparison, the 2016 primary election voter turnout was 34.32% and the 2012 primary election voter turn out was 18.59%, according to Lake County Election and Voter Registration Board data.
The highest recorded voter turn out for Lake County was in 2008 when 50.69% of registered voters cast their ballots, according to the data.
Historically, aside from the 2008 primary, the majority of Lake County residents don’t vote, said Lake County Election and Voter Registration Board Assistant Director LeAnn Angerman.
“I’m glad that 23.8% of people still voted,” Angerman said. “I’m happy for that, yet … it makes me sad that 76.2% didn’t.”[Most read] Chicago police made coffee and popcorn in US Rep. Bobby Rush’s office while shopping plaza was being looted; Mayor Lori Lightfoot apologizes »
In the most recent primary, the county received 27,338 mail-in ballots of the 31,181 ballots sent out, officials said. That number was substantially higher than previous primary elections during a presidential year, officials said.
But on election day, which was delayed to June 2 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 16% of registered voters voted at the polls, said Lake County Election and Voter Registration Board Director Michelle Fajman.
Even though the number of absentee mail-in ballots was higher this election cycle, the lower number of people voting in-person this year compared to previous primary elections is likely why the voter turn out was 23.8%, Fajman said.
Voters were likely reluctant to vote at the polls because of COVID-19, Fajman said. The election office took precautions, from sneeze guards to social distancing, to help make voting safer, she said.
“Just because things are open doesn’t mean people are comfortable,” Fajman said.
Kukulka, Alexandra. Chicago Tribune (June 4, 2020). “Lake County voter turnout comes in at 23.8% for the 2020 primary election”. Retrieved June 11, 2020 from the Chicago Tribune website: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-lake-voter-turnout-2020-primary-st-0605-20200604-s7q7dpxqnjb5hmkx245ktwxyni-story.html