Area county clerks were relatively satisfied with the way Tuesday's primary election turned out, even if their respective turnout levels varied from normal to slightly below average.
In Sangamon County, turnout for the primary, including mail votes and in-person early voting, sat at 21.44%, with County Clerk Don Gray saying the number should increase as the 634 outstanding mail ballots get counted.
"There might be a small adjustment to this number over the next two weeks," Gray said. "We still have late arriving ballots by mail that are properly postmarked and qualified.
That percentage stands slightly below the 23% average for primaries in a gubernatorial year. Gray said that the number reflected the scattershot nature of turnout in Sangamon County, with Election Day turnout being slower than expectations.
The reasons varied for why turnout disappointed to an extent: redistricting might have provided some confusion for voters, and the intense nature of some primaries may have turned voters off. There is also the matter of the date in which the primary took place, with delayed Census data and a later redistricting period leading to a primary which took place in late June instead of its traditional March date.
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Still, Gray said that plenty of voters took advantage of the greater opportunities provided by early voting and vote by mail, while also praising the many election judges across the county for making the process as smooth as it could be.
"In no other time in Illinois' history do (we) have more access and opportunity to be part of our democracy," Gray said. "You have great opportunity, from early voting to vote by mail to Election Day, not only to cast a ballot but to take part in it if you're not currently registered.
"I can't express enough gratefulness and gratitude to those that were employed on Election Day. I also want to thank the voters and the general public that did take the time to come out and vote. We put a lot of hard work and investment into providing you transparent, accountable, secure elections and we're glad to give you our very best every day."
Elsewhere, Logan County saw 28% turnout, which County Clerk Theresa Moore said was slightly lower than what they were hoping for. Like Gray, she also felt that the timing of the primary made turnout more unpredictable, with people trying to juggle typical summer activities with the all-important duty of voting.
"People had summer vacation plans or just don't think of elections in June," Moore said. "There were a lot of heated races; that's why it may be the month."
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Both Menard and Montgomery counties saw normal turnout despite the late primary, with turnout at 31.5% in Menard County and 25.82% in Montgomery County. Things went relatively smooth in both counties, with Menard County Clerk Marty Gum saying that it matched the typical pattern of how elections go in her county.
"It's been really smooth this year," Gum said. "It's been smooth my whole term, so I think it's been good."
However, in Montgomery County, Clerk Sandy Leitheiser said that expectations were met, but they always strive to exceed their goals in each election.
"We've had primary elections in the past where turnout has approached 40%," Leitheiser said. "With the ballot not including local, contested races on both established parties, this is more typical and did meet our expectations."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the last name of Menard County Clerk Martha "Marty" Gum.
Contact Zach Roth: (217) 899-4338; ZDRoth@gannett.com; @ZacharyRoth13
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: County clerks in Springfield area reflect on Illinois primary 2022