Illinois Counties Prepare for Primary Election Day - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Counties Prepare for Primary Election Day

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Across our area, Monday was a very busy day for county elections officials, delivering voting machines and making sure enough volunteers will be in place in every precinct for Tuesday's primary election in Illinois.

Polls statewide will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

And, while primary elections usually bring low voter turnout, election officials in the QCA say they're hopeful to get more people coming out this year, thanks in large part to contested local races and controversial public questions.

For example, the Mercer County Clerk, Phyllis Bewley, says she expects about 25 percent voter turn out, up nearly 10 percent from the last primary, which had a 16.43 percent turnout.

The big draws there, Bewley says, will be the sheriff's and county treasurer's races. Both have larger than normal fields of candidates, and both seats do not have an incumbent running for the first time in years.

The Henry County Clerk/Recorder, Barb Link, says the county treasurer race and a Geneseo city wide race should boost voter turnout there. She's hoping to see about 20 percent of registered voters turn out, up from the 15 to 17 percent it usually is.

The Whiteside County Clerk, Dana Nelson, says she hopes good weather Tuesday will boost turn out to 22 percent, up from 14 percent in the primary race four years ago. Nelson says early voting is slightly down, but she is optimistic there will be a turn around.

The Rock Island County Clerk, Karen Kinney, tells us she's expecting about voter turnout to be about 22 percent, as well.

It's a far cry from the state-high 71.6 percent who turned out for the 2012 general election, but the numbers aren't the only measure to pay attention to:

"A primary isn't so much about how many people vote, it's about who votes, so I would think the strong party supporters would get out and support their party and also the questions," Kinney said.

Of course, Rock Island County, has a number of big questions on this primary ballot, including a one cent sales tax referendum to fund school improvements and a quarter cent sales tax for public safety.

Voters in the Rockridge School District will also be asked whether to close three schools and open a new one.

Most county clerks we talked to said it is those local races and questions that tend to draw out the voters, but there are some state and federal races on the ballot Tuesday, too.

The governor's race will be one to watch.

Four Republicans are on the ballot: Dan Rutherford, Bruce Rauner, Kirk Dillard, and Bill Brady. They're all vying for the Republican nomination heading into the November election.

On the Democratic ticket, activist Tio Hardiman is challenging current Governor Pat Quinn.

A new law in Illinois allows 17 year olds to register to vote in this primary election for the first time, as long as they'll turn 18 before the general election in November.

Click here for candidate bios and more information about the referendum questions on Tuesday's ballot.


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