Coles County sees second-highest turnout in 8 years

Students and community members alike went to the polls in force Tuesday with 9,307 votes cast, the second-highest turnout in the past five primaries, to decide the county and state primaries.

Of the 29,736 register voters in the county, about 31 percent attended to fulfill their civic right. The 2008 primaries have still kept the record though with the highest turnout in the past five primary elections with 10,180 votes. The 2008 primaries decided the presidential and vice presidential primaries leading to the higher spike that year.

June Griffin, the 18th precinct elections judge for the Republican Party, said students especially do not really vote in the primaries. She added there are not many things students would want to vote on other than maybe the governor’s ticket.

“We have a very small precinct, which is predominantly students,” Griffin said. “We hardly see any real people.”

She added they do still vote in the election.

“We will see a lot more in November,” Griffin said.

She said she understood why many people, especially students, don’t vote for the primaries. It is hard to know who to vote for in these primaries, she said. She added it was hard even for her to get a clear picture of the candidate’s platforms and stances.

Despite the decent turnout, it still paled in comparison to the 14,447 who voted in the general election in 2006, which was the smallest turnout in the five major elections recently.

Sue Rennels, the Coles County clerk, said it is normal to have a small turnout compared to the general election.

““People just don’t like to vote in these elections,” Rennels said. “It has been a pretty standard primary (so far).”

The primaries are still important to people in the county like Jon Collins, the 19th precinct election judge for the Democratic Party, who said it was important to decide the representatives of each party, especially if multiple candidates contest for the seat.

Griffin said she was disappointed by the turnout of the day as of noon with only four ballots cast.

“If we get four more, I will be lucky,” Giffin said.

The general election will take place Nov. 4.

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]