Perhaps the more interesting story from Tuesday’s 2022 primaries was not as much who won, but who did not show up – the voters.
Turnout was low across Evanston’s 25 precincts for the 2022 local and statewide primary races – with one precinct getting absolutely no votes.
But it was the same across suburban Cook County, where an estimated 18% of the region’s more than 1.6 million registered voters cast a primary ballot – down from 22% in 2018.
Increased early voting is a possible factor in the low numbers. A little more than 3,000 Evanston residents voted early at the Morton Civic Center, the Cook County clerk reported.
Volunteers Maeve Newton and Eloise O’Bryan were stationed outside Haven Middle School in the afternoon and evening, handing out campaign cards for judicial candidates to passing voters. The two said they saw fewer voters on Election Day than on Monday for early voting, but it was an off-cycle summer primary.
“Normally, people don’t vote in June, so I think given that it’s kind of an out-of-the-ordinary election, it’s not terrible,” Newton said. “Hopefully for the general election, there’ll be a lot more voters.”
Inside Haven, election judge and administrator Mariette Pompilus said Haven had more traffic than other Evanston locations she reviewed but turnout was generally low across the city. Haven was the voting location for three precincts, one in the Sixth Ward and two in the Seventh Ward.
Turnout was far lower at the Alice Millar Chapel on Sheridan Road across from the Northwestern University campus. By the time the chapel began preparing to close around 6:40 p.m., one of its two precincts had received just nine votes the entire day, and the other received none at all.
Alice Swan, an election judge in the precinct where voters were a no-show, attributed it to the now-empty Northwestern University dorms. She said she hopes students in her precinct will turn out in November when school is in session. “It depends on how the gubernatorial race turns out, because it has the possibility to actually be a close race,” Swan said. “So I hope people will come out for that.”