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Voter Turnout Highest in Beverly and NW Side, Lowest in West Englewood

By Josh McGhee | April 8, 2015 11:12am
 A Chicagoan casts her ballot on the 2015 mayoral election.
A Chicagoan casts her ballot on the 2015 mayoral election.
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Gettt Images/Joshua Lott

CHICAGO — About 40 percent of registered voters braved the rain and fog to cast a ballot in Tuesday's runoff elections across the city, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

The turnout was enough to help Mayor Rahm Emanuel best Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia by taking home 55 percent of the votes. Emanuel received 315,545 votes while Garcia came away with 250,773 votes, according to the unofficial numbers.

James Allen, Communication Director of the Chicago Board of Elections applauded the turnout compared to other big cities.

"I dare you to find a city with that kind of turnout. Not in New York. Not in L.A. they don't exist. Chicago's turnout was great," Allen said.

UIC Political Science Professor Dick Simpson was less accepting.

"The turnout isn't as high as it should be. It should at obviously be above 50 percent," said Simpson.

Though only 567,998 of 1,441,637 registered voters showed up Tuesday, turnout was better than it was in February, when only 33 percent of voters cast ballots.

Simpson had predicted the wet weather would be good for Emanuel when the forecast called for rain Monday.

"Rain tends to keep voters away, especially voters who are less certain of how they want to vote," Simpson said. "Rain [and weather like it] tends to favor the incumbent then the challenger."

After Simpson said: "The weather wasn't great but it wasn't enough to inhibit voters that much."

He predicted that regardless of the weather the regular machine voters would still come out, giving Emanuel an advantage. This rang especially true in the 19th Ward, where the precinct shows a lot of support for Emanuel, Simpson said.

The 19th Ward had the highest turnout with 19,845 ballots cast, despite the fact that there were no aldermanic races on those ballots. The ward, which includes Beverly, Mt. Greenwood and portions of Morgan Park, has historically led the city in voter turnout.

About 56.1 percent of voters turned out in the 19th Ward. The opposite side of the city had the second best turnout: the Far Northwest Side's 41st Ward had 18,569 ballots cast in 47 precincts.

Despite the 19th Ward, voter turnout was higher in areas with aldermanic races.

"I think [the aldermanic races] increased turnout from what it would've been. In general where there was a contest the [turnout] was still higher," Simpson said.

The least number of votes were cast in the 15th Ward on the Southwest Side. A report from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners revealed 6,233 ballots were cast in 24 precincts in the 15th Ward, which includes parts of Brighton Park, West Englewood, Back of the Yards and Gage Park.

In the 15th Ward, Raymond Lopez earned 57 percent of the vote to defeat Rafael Yanez, who only took home 42 percent of the votes. Lopez is a skycap for Southwest Airlines and was also the Democratic committeeman for the ward.

Garcia failed to unite the African American community and a more competitive election would increase voter turnout, Simpson said.

"It requires competitive election, where voters believe they can make a difference. Voters didn't like Rahm, but weren't confident Garcia could handle the budget problems so they stayed home," Simpson said.

TURNOUT BY WARD (Where's my ward? Find out here.)

1st: 35.4 percent
2nd: 40.7 percent
3rd: 38.1 percent
4th: 43.9 percent
5th: 43.8 percent
6th: 34.5 percent
7th: 36.5 percent
8th: 40.7 percent
9th: 35.5 percent
10th: 42.4 percent
11th: 47.5 percent
12th: 37.5 percent
13th: 56.1 percent
14th: 45 percent
15th: 33.7 percent
16th: 27.9 percent
17th: 31.1 percent
18th: 45.2 percent
19th: 56.1 percent
20th: 29.2 percent
21st: 38.5 percent
22nd: 36.1 percent
23rd: 48.8 percent
24th: 29.3 percent
25th: 36.8 percent
26th: 33.1 percent
27th: 30.6 percent
28th: 25.2 percent
29th: 35.2 percent
30th: 34.1 percent
31st: 38 percent
32nd: 38.6 percent
33rd: 41.6 percent
34th: 35 percent
35th: 35.6 percent
36th: 36.6 percent
37th: 31.7 percent
38th: 41.6 percent
39th: 43.4 percent
40th: 40.9 percent
41st: 53.4 percent
42nd: 37.6 percent
43rd: 43.1 percent
44th: 40.4 percent
45th: 49.5 percent
46th: 43.4 percent
47th: 45.3 percent
48th: 43.2 percent
49th: 40.7 percent
50th: 38 percent

DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali


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