Just How Big Was the Blue Wave of Voter Turnout in Illinois?

ILLINOIS (IRN) — Voters in Illinois showed up yesterday in a way that they hadn’t since they were voting for Jim Edgar’s first term.

The final vote tallies won’t be locked in until December 3rd but preliminary voting totals show 54 percent of registered voters in Illinois filled out a ballot.

Matt Dietrich with the Illinois State Board of Elections says you have to go back decades to see that kind of turnout in a midterm election.

“It was pretty remarkable,” he said. “That would be the highest voter turnout we’ve had since 1990.”

Dietrich points out that voter turnout in the 1982 midterm election was 65 percent.

Sarah Rosier with Ballotpedia said Gov. Bruce Rauner got fewer votes than in 2014, despite the much higher turnout.

“Compared to his 2014 run, [Rauner] only received 100,000 fewer votes,” she said. “But, when you look at how that’s affected by the turnout, that was a significant decrease.”

Attorney General candidate Erika Harold got 175,000 more votes than Rauner did.

Gov. Elect J.B. Pritzker finished the night with more than 2.3 million votes, but he wasn’t the top vote-getter in the state. That title again goes to Secretary of State Jesse White, who amassed nearly 3 million votes.

The Cook County Board of Election Commissioners reported a 55 percent turnout rate, with more young people voting than people older than 65. That’s a higher midterm turnout than every midterm election in the past three decades.

This election also marks the first that Chicago residents could register to vote using CityKey, a city-issued identification that was readily issued to residents who couldn’t otherwise get a government-issued ID. The program was criticized by officials outside the city who worried that the program would lead to voter fraud.

Officials with the CityKey program weren’t immediately available for comment.