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Elections 2012

David Orr Says GOP Turn Out Up 44%, Democratic Down 45% in Cook County Early Primary Voting 2012


FEW SIGNS OF A CAMPAIGN: During a random drive through parts of Chicago's heavily Democratic 48th Ward on Saturday there were few hints that a primary was on Tuesday. Despite competitive races for the Supreme Court, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, State Representative, and sub-circuit judicial, there were no candidate yard signs for these campaigns with the exception of the contest between State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and lesbian activist Paula Basta. On Thorndale, between Clark and Broadway one could find two signs for Basta and one for Cassidy.

(Chicago, IL) – March 18, 2012. Republicans in suburban Cook County cast 44 percent more Early Voting ballots for Tuesday’s Presidential Primary than during Early Voting in 2008, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Friday.

Nearly 4,400 more Republicans participated during this Early Voting period, which ended Thursday, than did four years ago. GOP voters represented 38.6 percent of all early voting ballots cast, up from 19.4 percent in 2008.

“We have an uncontested Democratic presidential race in Illinois, so Democrats are not as motivated to participate,” Orr said. “Meanwhile Republican voters are pleasantly surprised to have a say in the GOP presidential contest.”

In the last presidential primary, only Barrington Township voted a majority Republican. During this Early Voting period, 11 of 30 suburban townships had more Republicans than Democrats casting ballots. They are:

  • Barrington (78% Republican)
  • Lemont (71%)
  • Palatine (69%)
  • Wheeling (61%),
  • Orland (59%),
  • Palos (58%),
  • Leyden (58%)
  • Elk Grove (57%)
  • Maine (56%)
  • Hanover (52%)
  • New Trier (50.1%)

Democratic Early Voting participation dropped 45 percent when compared with the last presidential election.

Early Voting peaked in the final four days; 14,432 votes or 39 percent of the 36,990 ballots were cast between Monday and Thursday.

While Early Voting participation was higher than the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election, turnout dipped from the 2008 Presidential Primary when more than 51,000 suburban voters cast early votes.

Early Voting Participation by Location

The three busiest Early Voting sites were: Orland Park (2,477); Northbrook (1,972); and Matteson (1,925).

Early Voting Participation by Age & Gender

The vast majority – 71 percent – of early voters were older than 55. Only 7 percent of early voters were ages 18 to 34. Women made up 54 percent of all early voters.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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David Ormsby, Editor

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