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Low voter turnout for Election Day

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:36 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Heidi Litchfield – hlitchfield@shawmedia.com)
Brenda and Jo Dergo look up a voter's registration to help him find out which polling place he needed to go to in order to vote in Tuesday's primary, while Alyssa Rogers looks on.

MORRIS – Sunny skies, a light breeze and 55 degree weather made for ideal voting conditions Tuesday afternoon as voters in Grundy County voters took to the polls for the 2014 primary election.

When Morris resident James Swiggett woke up election morning, he said the “beautiful” spring weather is what pushed him to the polls.

“Usually the weather plays a part,” Swiggett said. “If there had been 4 feet of snow on the ground and it was 30 below zero, you wouldn’t have seen me here today.”

Despite the beautiful weather, as of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, with 42 of 42 precincts reporting in Grundy County, just under 17 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, compared to the 25 percent turnout Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips predicted.

“To me, there’s no excuses because it’s so nice out today,” Phillips said. “So it should be, you know, at 100 percent.”

Typically, primary elections have lower voter turnouts than general elections.

Phillips said absentee votes should not sway the results much since 116 of the 127 mailed-out votes already have been returned. Seventeen grace period ballots also were collected as of Tuesday afternoon.

Phillips said this election, there was more votes cast by Republicans than Democrats, but she believed that was due to the makeup of this year’s election.

“I think there’s just more races on the Republican side,” she said. “You’ve got gubernatorial races and at the county level, you’ve got two candidates vying for a sheriff’s seat.”

Erica Doerfler, a teacher at Nettle Creek Elementary School, said she has voted in every general election since she was 18 years old, but does not typically vote in primary elections. She voted in this year’s primary election because she felt obligated.

“I’m a teacher so I’m teaching my students about the importance of voting,” she said. “I felt I should be out here.” 

Local resident and primary voter Mary Belden said she doesn’t understand why more people don’t turn out on Election Day.

“They sit around and complain about how bad it is, but when you ask them if they voted, they say ‘No,’ ” Belden said.

Belden said she believes voting is every resident’s civic duty, but she was particularly excited about this election because of a certain candidate.

“I don’t usually miss an election, but I especially wasn’t going to miss this one,” she said. “This county needs change.”

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