Voter turnout drops in Fox Valley
By jenette Sturges firstname.lastname@example.org November 9, 2012 4:54PM
Voters cast their ballots at Messenger Library in North Aurora on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Fox Valley election turnout
2008 — 64.0 percent
2012 — 58.4 percent
2008 — 76.5 percent
2012— 68.1 percent
2008 — 69.1 percent
2012 — 68.8 percent
2008 — 76.3 percent
2012 — 71.2 percent
Updated: November 9, 2012 7:30PM
Despite a hotly contested presidential race and a number of close calls locally, voter turnout was sluggish throughout much of the Fox Valley for Tuesday’s election, falling short of the record highs of the election of 2008.
About two-thirds of eligible voters around the Fox Valley cast a ballot before 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to tallies from the Aurora Election Commission and Kane, DuPage and Kendall county elections officials.
Voter turnout was highest in DuPage County, with 399,413 people, or about 71.2 percent of the county’s registered voters, showing up to the polls. Aurorans were the least likely to vote — just 58.4 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, according to the Aurora Election Commission.
For most counties, those votes totals marked a decline from 2008, when Illinois as a whole flocked to the polls to help elect President Barack Obama.
In Kane County, voter turnout dropped from 76.5 percent of registered voters to just 68.1 percent. And in Aurora, just 33,548 cast a vote, compared to the 57,679 Aurorans who voted in 2008. The city also had fewer registered voters this year, despite a growth in population, according to Aurora Election Commission Executive Director Linda Fechner, who said that many voters have moved out of the city and new residents have not kept pace with registering.
Kendall County was the major exception — more voters cast ballots in 2012 than in 2008. About 69 percent of registered voters showed up in both years.
“It was really good,” said Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette. “Really busy.”
Totals are still approximate as absentee and provisional ballots trickle in, Gillette said.
As for what accounts for the turnout rate each year, election officials speculated that turnout is often a matter of how fired up the electorate is about their candidates, but that many factors are involved.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Gillette said.
Despite some long lines, voters had few complaints about misconduct or other irregularities.
Just one complaint was filed in Kendall County, concerning a malfunctioning voting machine, and the matter was resolved in about 15 minutes, according to Kendall State’s Attorney Eric Weis.
Kane State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s office responded to 48 calls — most concerning sign placement at polling places, ID requirements and paperwork.
“All inquiries were resolved at the site, no charges were necessary, and there were no disruptions to the voting process,” McMahon said.