Mock Election – EGHS
October 11, 2018
MOCK ELECTION RESULTS: Civic Engagement Day – EGHS Oct 11, 2018
Of the approximately 1,900 students attending Elk Grove High School, only 5.2% participated in the Mock Election facilitated by Stacey Tobin of League of Women Voters on October 11, 2018.
Why so low? The most consistently stated reason among students I asked was, “I don’t know who my candidates are.”
Many students were frustrated because they understood that voting is important but questioned their ability to make good decisions during elections that carry such high-stakes consequences. Fortunately, this was just a ‘mock‘ election, an election organized for educational or transformative purposes, but let’s take a look at voter turnout in the Chicagoland area over recent years.
The Cook County Clerk’s Office reports registration and voter turnout between the years 1990-2018 in Suburban Cook County. In Primary elections, voter turnout is higher during presidential election years, but still only runs between 16.0% and 48.6%, with the lowest turnout during the 2014 Primaries when only 232,088 of the 1,451,593 registered voters in Suburban Lake County showed up to cast their ballots at the polls. The highest Primary turnout reported was the following year when 701,525 of 1,443,261 registered voters cast their ballot during a presidential year.
Presidential years also fair better in General elections, with the highest turnout back in 1992 when 75.9%, or 1,062,229 of 1,399,886 registered voters, cast ballots. The lowest years were in 1994 and 2006 when 632,598 of 1,272,630 and 680,696 of 1,349,371 registered voters cast ballots, respectively.
In recent years, voter turnout during General elections jumped from 49.8% in 2014, a non-presidential year, to 72.1% in 2016, the following presidential year. While this may seem encouraging, one must also factor in recent Primary elections. Voter turnout was down 29.1% in 2018 from 48.6% in 2016, a presidential year, but was up from 16.0% during the last non-presidential year, so the trend may be rising, but we should be conservative in our estimations.
The difference in voter turnout between Primaries and General elections can run as high as 49.8% as in 2000 and as low 17.7% in 2002. During the last Presidential election in 2016, the difference in voter turnout in the Primary vs. the General election was 25.3%.
Why is this important information?
Although many of us may feel great about having done our research and about voting in the General Election, we likely have NOT done enough to get the best candidates to the ballot. The Primary election is when we get the opportunity to select from amongst those we consider the best of candidates from each party.
What does it matter if we vote when we continue to limit our choices to the “least of two evils”? If we want good candidates, it’s the Primary election that provides us with the opportunity to get them.
And, last and apparently least, let’s take a look at Consolidated elections. This is where we’ve rightly earned our grade of ‘F’. It’s during Consolidated elections that we vote for those who most directly impact the quality of our day-to-day lives. This is when we vote for our school boards, our community college boards, our mayors…
Between the years of 1990 and 2017, voter turnout for Consolidated elections has only reached a high of 29.0%. Turnout for these elections has run as low as 14.2% in 2015. We have got to do a better job of turning out for our Consolidated elections.
So, we have some work to do – It’s time to turn up the volume and turn out to vote!
Arm your families with candidate information
March to the Polls on November 6th!
2018 General Election