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ELECTION 2018: La Salle County voter turnout 57 percent

Declan Roberts looks on as his mom, Alex, casts her vote Tuesday at the Ottawa Knights of Columbus in Ottawa.
Declan Roberts looks on as his mom, Alex, casts her vote Tuesday at the Ottawa Knights of Columbus in Ottawa.

La Salle County’s voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was 57 percent — the highest midterm turnout since 1994.

Early voting was brisk leading up to the election — the county clerk’s office received 3,912 early-voter ballots, which is high compared to past elections, said Chief Deputy Clerk Lori Bongartz, who ran unopposed for county clerk in Tuesday’s election. The office also received 6,224 mail-in votes as of Tuesday, out of the 6,697 requested.

Bongartz said late Tuesday that while the turnout was higher than in recent midterms, she anticipated the percentage would be slightly greater. Of the 71,111 registered voters, 40,551 cast ballots.

Some of the more appealing races this midterm included governor and state representative for the 76th House District. There also were a handful of referenda.

Dating back to 1974 — the oldest records available online through the clerk’s office — the highest turnout for midterm elections was 65 percent in 1990 and 1982.

During the last midterm election in 2014, voter turnout was 53 percent.

Presidential elections garner the highest turnouts, with La Salle County hitting 71 percent in 2016 when Donald Trump faced Hillary Clinton. The highest turnout since 1974 was in 1992 at 83 percent when incumbent President George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton.

The county’s first results from Tuesday’s election were posted online about 8:20 p.m. with the last results posted about 10:30 p.m. — a typical timeframe for the county’s 119 precincts.

“I think we did pretty good tonight,” Bongartz said referring to the results posting. “Everybody got their memory cards in (in a timely manner); we were good.”

As of press time, with several precincts not counted yet, Livingston County’s voter turnout was at 47 percent.

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