Editor’s note: The RoundTable has complete state and county results in all the races Evanstonians voted here. For the RoundTable’s portrait on election judges serving democracy, click here.

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.

Evanston polls

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.”

Alex Harrison reports on local government, public safety, developments, town-gown relations and more for the RoundTable. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in June...

6 replies on “This year’s primaries were slim on voters”

  1. In this article, you are not including votes by mail? If so, it significantly changes the story!

    1. Thank you, Martin. You are correct. I can tell you one of my reporters is working on a more complete story about how the final total will be determined — all the factors. I think it is crucial to always be talking about the complete voting process. Thank you. Susy Schultz

  2. The low turnout at Alice Miller site could be in part because it is mismarked – address was Sheridan Rd but entrance was actually on Chicago Ave, and difficult to find if you parked in lot behind the site. Need more signs next time!

  3. One problem one voter reported is that the Alice Miller Chapel voting entrance was actually physically on Chicago Ave, even though the address says Sheridan Rd – and it was poorly marked, with no signs from the parking lot off of Hinman Ave.

  4. We’re learning bitter lesson about judges’ power, so even though I do not believe judges should be elected (campaign financing opens the door to corruption), the (too many) judges on the ballot motivated me to research them – using the invaluable tool InJustice Watch – and to vote. There’s a lot at stake with the fall elections. I hope many more Evanstonians will turn out then.

    1. The Injustice Watch guide is excellent, Cynthia. It makes sure you get facts—the bar association rating and any stories of misconduct or misdeeds—not opinions. It allows you to weigh and measure.

      It took an impressive team to research everything and an impressive team of IT people to make it happen. Thanks for calling it out. Susy

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