Voter turnout going back in each statewide election in Chicago since 2002. (Graphic/Kenny Reiter)

Election Data: Voter Turnout Stays on Downward Trend in Chicago

Analysis by Kenny Reiter

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014

Voter turnout in last week’s midterm election remained low in Chicago despite new referendums in place designed to make the process easier for Illinois voters.

Of 1,368,708 registered voters, only 657,296 ballots were cast, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ unofficial summary report. The number of registered voters in the 2014 midterm election surpassed the number of registered voters in the last three midterm elections, but voter turnout was only 48 percent.

The 2002 midterm election saw similar numbers in terms of registered voters with 1,364,931, but also had the highest voter turnout in the last 12 years of midterm elections at 53.09 percent. Turnout has since dropped, recuperating to 52.88 percent in 2010 and then dropping again in 2014.

The city's low voter turnout was one of the reasons attributed to Gov. Pat Quinn's loss to Bruce Rauner. Rauner even won one downtown ward -- the 42nd -- a rarity for a Republican candidate.

Chicago gained just more than 400 new registered voters since the March primaries, according to Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ data.

Data: See primary turnout by county on an interactive map.

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This Data/Chicago project made possible by 
journalism grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation

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