Cook County Casts More GOP Ballots Than Dems for First Time Since 1996


County Clerk Says GOP Ballots Outnumbered Democrats Because of Ballot Choices, Not Politics


Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey - 3D IconsFor the first time in almost 20 years voters in Cook County’s suburban areas cast more Republican ballots than Democratic ballots, according to the Clerk’s office.

The primary election had one of the lowest turnouts in state history, but Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office released their final numbers showing 55 percent of the voters cast Republican ballots. One cause for this, Orr said, was the few contested races on the Democratic compared to the US Senate and Illinois Governor primaries that were hotly contested on the Republican ballot.

“Overall voter turnout may have been at a historic low, but Republican contests for governor and US Senate resulted in the highest percentage of Republican ballots cast in recent history,” said Orr in a statement released by Clerk’s office.

More than 232,000 ballots were cast in the March 18 primary, where Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) and Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) won the GOP nomination for governor and US Senate, respectively. Rauner ran against three other candidates in the primary, including State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), while Oberweis ran against newcomer Doug Truax (R-Downers Grove). Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) ran against long-shot Tio Hardiman (D-Chicago) in a race with little advertising. US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Springfield) ran unopposed.

Only 16 percent of eligible voters in suburban Cook County voted in the March primary. Barrington Township, which had widest gap between GOP and Democrat ballots cast with 89 percent coming from Republicans, also saw the highest turnout of voters at 28 percent. Consequently, Palatine Township, the second-widest gap at 83 percent, only saw 15 percent of their voters come out.

On the other side of the ballot, Oak Park and Niles saw the highest Democratic turnout with Democrats outnumbering Republicans voting at 73 percent and Niles at 53 percent.

Rauner and Quinn face off against each other while Oberweis and Durbin are running against each other for the November election. Historically, turnout is lower during non-Presidential elections, but turnout is expected to be higher than during the primary.

Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]