2020 general election: Voter turnout at 75.43 percent

2020 general election: Voter turnout at 75.43 percent

By: DANIEL WINNINGHAM

Enquirer~Democrat managing editor

The votes are still coming in, slowly but surely, but a couple of facts are certain, according to Macoupin County Clerk Pete Duncan, the Nov. 3 general election had the most participants cast a ballot by mail and it was the highest voter turnout in decades.

“With everything thrown at us this year, it went very smoothly,” Duncan said in his office Monday afternoon.

A total of 24,055 ballots were cast, which was up 1,374, about 6 percent from the 22,681 cast four years ago in 2016. The voter turnout for Nov. 3 was at 75.43 percent.

Duncan said a reported 5,838 voted by mail, which was more than four ties the number cast by mail in 2018, when a reported 1,338 opted for vote by mail and more than 14.5 times as many as in 2006, when 402 county voters cast a ballot by mail. Back then, casting a ballot prior to election day was referred to as an “absentee” ballot, and voters needed an excuse or reason for doing so. That’s not the case anymore, and earlier this fall Duncan said for those concerned about voting in the general election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic the safest way to participate in 2020 was by mail.

A reported 7,400 voters requested a mail-in ballot for the general election, Duncan said. About 400 votes by mail ballots remain outstanding, Duncan noted, and another 50 of them have been rejected. The clerk’s office still needs tally an estimated 140 provisional ballots to complete the county’s final count.

The precinct with the highest turnout was Bird (Charity Baptist Church, rural Carlinville), which had 206 participants among 224 voters, a turnout of 91.96 percent. Of the 206 voters, 144 cast a ballot on election day and 62 voted early. The precinct also had the largest increase in turnout from the 2016 election, jumping 13.36 percent, from a 78.6 percent turnout four years ago.

A total of 11 precincts had a turnout of 80 percent or higher and just two precincts, Mt. Olive 2 (75.26, down 1.53 percent) and Cahokia 5 (67.49 percent, down 3.34 percent) had a decrease in turnout from the 2016 presidential election.

The lowest precinct turnout in the county was at Carlinville 4 (Carlinville Public Library) at 65.35 percent. This location had 100 participants (53 election day, 47 listed as early) among 153 registered voters.

Surrounding county comparison

Macoupin County’s turnout of 75.43 percent (24,055 of 31,892 registered voters) was slightly ahead of turnout in Sangamon County’s 75.12 percent (105,674 ballots among 140,667 registered voters), and ahead of Madison County’s 73.20 percent (136,416 votes out of 186,358 registered voters), Morgan County’s 69.5 percent turnout (15,326 ballots among 22,037 registered voters) as well as Greene County’s 69.05 percent (6,296 ballots among 9,117 voters, not counting 14 day mail-ins), though it lagged behind Montgomery County’s 83.71 percent (13,809 ballots cast among 16,496 registered voters) and Jersey County’s 77.07 percent (12,013 votes out of 15,587 registered voters).