Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Winter Weather Affects Voter Turnout

Winter storm dumped several inches of snow on the Chicago area and canceled hundreds of flights at Chicago's two airports

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Junae Bennett

    Rain, sleet and snow hit the Chicago area Tuesday on the same day that voters, albeit a small number of them, went to the polls.

    In Chicago's south side and neighboring suburbs, residents of the 2nd Illinois Congressional were choosing a Democratic and Republican candidate to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned in November after several months out of office.

    Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale and former Rep. Robin Kelly are considered the favorites to take over Jackson's old district.

    In Cicero, voters were were choosing who would be the next town president. Incumbent Larry Dominick was challenged by former McPier executive Juan Ochoa and Joe Pontarelli, Cicero's former Director of Senior Services.

    The winter storm dumped several inches of snow on the Chicago area and canceled hundreds of flights at Chicago's two airports. But the city did its best in trying to not have weather be a factor, sending additional crews to the far south side to ensure voters could get to the polls.

    "I have a great staff," replied Commissioner Charles Williams when asked who requested the additional resources.

    In Chicago, roughly two percent of registered voters cast early ballots. That number was up slightly compared to a special primary election in 2009.

    Voter turnout was expected to be in the high teens or low twenties, according to James Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections, noting that those who are showing up at the polls are probably die-hards who vote in every election.

    "Right," Allen said. "The real consistent voters."

    Overall, Chicago turnout in the 2009 primary was 18 percent. In suburban Cook County, turnout was roughly 10 percent, including early votes.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.