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Local Election

Voter turnout reaches 23 percent

Election judge Linda Hackler watches a voter enters a ballot Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa. Voter turnout in La Salle County was 23 percent.
Election judge Linda Hackler watches a voter enters a ballot Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa. Voter turnout in La Salle County was 23 percent.

Tuesday's voter turnout wasn't the lowest for consolidated elections during the past decade, but it certainly wasn't the highest.

Of 72,011 registered voters in La Salle County, 16,525, or 23%, cast ballots in races for mayor, city council, library and fire boards and referenda.

"There was not that big of a turnout," County Clerk Lori Bongartz said Tuesday night, adding she expected it to be closer to 30 percent with a number of contested races throughout the area.

Consolidated elections tend to have lower turnouts than general elections, especially general elections with a presidential race. In 2016 — the last presidential election — voter turnout in the county was 71 percent. During the past decade, consolidated elections ranged from 21 to 27 percent voter turnout.

Bongartz noted turnout was higher in areas with more hotly contested races, including Ottawa, Streator and Oglesby.

All early voter ballots as well as mail-in ballots received by Tuesday were included in the unofficial vote totals; however, additional mail-in ballots received during the next week as well as provisional ballots could possibly change the results of several close races. In La Salle, the ward 4 alderman race was tied, with Mark Schneider and Jordan Crane both receiving 163 votes. In the Marseilles commissioner race, Gary Lewey came in fourth out of four commissioner spots, with Mary Oslanzi only four votes behind him.

The clerk's office received about 1,300 early-voter and mail-in ballots, which were counted Tuesday.

Election results were posted online shortly before 8 p.m., with the last several precincts rolling in about 9:30 p.m.

In Livingston County, voter turnout was much less at 13%; of 21,676 registered voters, 2,859 cast ballots.

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