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Early and mail-in voting are light in McLean County as primary election nears

'I voted' stickers
Emily Bollinger
A box of "I voted" stickers at a McLean County voting site.

Election authorities in McLean County say voter turnout has been light so far for the upcoming primary election.

About 2% of registered voters have cast ballots either through early voting, or vote-by-mail since voting began May 19, according to the Bloomington Election Commission (BEC) and the McLean County Clerk’s office.

The county office oversees all voting outside of Bloomington. The two election offices reported close to 2,300 ballots submitted as of Thursday.

The primary election is June 28. The election includes a contested Republican race for governor, several Illinois House and U.S. House races, a circuit judge race and two contested McLean County Board primaries.

County Clerk Kathy Michael said she expects turnout will pick up in the final 12 days before election day.

“There’s excitement on both sides to get out, but it is a primary and a lot of folks haven’t made up their minds yet,” Michael said.

BEC Executive Director Suzanne Fahnestock said she expects turnout for the primary to reach 25%. Turnout for the last gubernatorial primary, March 2018, saw 26% turnout in the city and county. Michael said she expects turnout for this election will be "a bit" higher.

The County Clerk's office and BEC report Republicans have used early in-person voting more than Democrats (58% to 42%), while Democrats are using mail-in voting in greater percentages than Republicans (62% to 37%).

Michael said it's not clear to her why there’s such a discrepancy between the parties. “Some people are a little bit weary of dropping things off in the mail and a lot of people would just like to come in person,” she said.

Nationally, Democrats used mail-in balloting in greater numbers during the 2020 election that took place during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The McLean County Clerk’s office and BEC have early voting available at:

  • BEC office; 121 N. Main St., 1st floor; 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday through June 27.
  • Eastland Mall, Bloomington; 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday; and 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday through June 24; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, June 25; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, June 26; and 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, June 27.
  • Bone Student Center, Illinois State University;10 a.m.-5 p.m., June 22-24.
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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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