Low voter turnout so far in the Chicago Historic Town Hall race


Tuesday, Chicago had recorded a record participation rate of 33% in the historic race to 14 seats.

Without a late vote increase, this anemic total could be the lowest recorded in a municipal election since 2007, when Richard M. Daley won his sixth and final term.

Nearly 303,000 voters – about 19% of registered voters – voted at 1 pm

"We do not see meaningful participation," Jim Allen, spokesperson for the Chicago Elections Council, told reporters.

Many underdog candidates noted throughout the race that they thought the low voter turnout favored the candidates, such as Bill Daley, Toni Preckwinkle, Gery Chico and Susana Mendoza.

"It's clear that beyond the polls, there are real undecided voters," Allen said. "We hope voters will make up their minds and participate. We still have six hours left before the polls close, but it seems that some voters are simply disengaged or do not wish to make a decision until they know who is in the second round, assuming there is a second tower. "

"Some people said they had two or three candidates and they could not decide. Well, at some point you have to choose and vote. "

The pool of registered voters in Chicago is 11% higher than in 2015. This is largely due to the increase in registrations related to the mid-term elections of November 2018. Part of the low voter turnout The turnout could be that November voters do not show up for the February municipal elections.

But disenchantment with former city leaders can also play a role. Peter Rivera, a 55-year-old public school security officer in Chicago, said he had stopped voting about seven years ago. No matter who is elected, nothing changes and politicians do not keep their promises, he said. His friends and family are generally of the same opinion and have not asked him to vote, Rivera said.

"Once there, they will forget … everything is a matter of money and power, that 's all they want," Rivera said.

A polling station was to remain open until 8 pm. after equipment problems, the vote was delayed more than two hours after the opening of the polls. Election officials will seek a court order to extend voting hours at the Independence Park site in the Irving Park neighborhood (third constituency of the 45th constituency).

Officials are investigating whether a second voting site has opened late.

The lack of voter turnout was part of a day in which scattered problems erupted throughout the city, a report of the distribution of gift cards at a polling place and shots fired at another, as well as the dismissal of at least two election judges.

At the Barbara Jean Wright apartments, located at 1354 S. Morgan Street, on the west side, several election judges and a polling station observer confirmed that at least one person was standing in the narrow hallway at the end of the day. outside of the room where the votes were distributed. cards. The judges stated that they had become aware of the suspicious activity that once the person had left and that angry voters had started asking the election officials where they could ask their gift cards.

The gift cards, apparently intended for Target, were given to people after their vote. It is not clear whether they were intended to persuade voters to choose a certain candidate.

Post Office employees said that they immediately contacted the state prosecutor's office, which advised them to call the police. Two marked Chicago police cars and a representative of the state attorney's office responded to the scene.

Late in the afternoon, the constituency was desolate and only one voter arrived at a time, but earlier in the day, a polling station observer described the parking lot as a "circus" of dozens of tellers . By 4:30 pm, however, there were only three or four people left, including a woman wearing a sandwich panel and a man handing out leaflets. Only 143 votes were recorded on the site Tuesday afternoon.

Shots were fired in front of a McKinley Park polling station, although election officials said it was unclear whether the incident was election-related. According to Allen, the police found a weapon after stopping a vehicle, which corresponds to the description of the alleged gunman.

We do not know who was the target of the shooter.

"We do not know if it was a person who was working for a campaign because that person had refused to cooperate with the police," Allen said.

A judge was pulled from a polling station in the Humboldt Park neighborhood after she allegedly engaged in driving voters for an unidentified candidate in the name of Alderman, then two. Associates threatened other workers at a polling station in the 26th constituency.

A second judge was removed from office because she would have been intoxicated while she was working in a polling station of the 34th section of a West neighborhood school. Pullman.

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Tony Briscoe and Anna Kim of the Chicago Tribune also contributed.

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