Kane County Clerk John A. “Jack” Cunningham told the Kane County Public Service Committee last week that a whopping 42.5 percent of the returned ballots came from early voting.
That’s by far a record for Kane County, and another surprising statistic in a presidential-election year that was full of surprises.
“We were very pleased with the results of our early voting outreach efforts,” Cunningham told the committee. “This was beyond our expectations.”
Months prior to the election, the Kane County Clerk’s Office reached out to units of government and the business community, asking civic leaders to post early voting reminders on electronic billboards and do their best to get out the word that early voting would save people time and save government resources. Cunningham said that states such as California, which have had early voting in place for a decade or more, see as much as 30 percent of the votes cast prior to Election Day.
Few people would have expected Kane County to reach that total this year, and fewer still would have anticipated that 30 percent statistic eclipsed by double digits.
As you can see in the feature photo of this article, the lines for early voting on Monday, Nov. 7 — the day before the General Election — were around the corner of Building B at the Kane County Government Center. People patiently waited in line, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and looking forward to the history-making vote that would take place the next day.
Cunningham told the committee that 73,190 ballots were returned via early voting in Kane County, not including the area served by the Aurora Election Commission. A total of 172,100 ballots were collected, according to the “precinct turnout” page of the Clerk’s Office election website.
If you add grace-period voting, military mail-in voting and nursing-home voting, a total of 83,568 people — more than 48.5 percent — did not cast a ballot at a Kane County polling place on Election Day.
Strong Voter Turnout
Cunningham said voter turnout was strong, as well.
The 172,100 ballots cast represented more than 69.8 percent of the county’s 246,343 registered voters. That is not a record in terms of voter-turnout percentages, but the 172,100 total appears to be the highest number of ballots cast in Kane County history.
Since 1980, the highest voter turnout was in the Nov. 3, 1992, presidential election, when 130,088 of the county’s 158,611 registered voters cast a ballot. That’s a whopping 82.02 percent voter turnout.
According to the Clerk’s Office website, the most ballots cast in an election prior to this year was 171,336 in the Nov. 2, 2004, general election — also a presidential-election year. There were 250,367 registered voters that year, for a voter turnout of 68.04 percent.
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