PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Primary Election Day is on Tuesday and election officials are expecting a big turnout across Central Illinois.
During primary elections, voters choose their candidates for their selected political party, either Republican or Democrat. Registered Illinois voters do not have to ascribe to a political affiliation and can choose which ballot they want at the polling location.
“Election administrators hope for a good turnout and no close races,” said Tom Bride, executive director of Peoria County Election Commission.
Bride said early voting numbers are up from last midterm cycle in 2018.
“It’s been good. We’re up around 20% in early voting which is actually surprising. It’s really picked up in the last week,” he said.
The biggest changes this year in Peoria County are the switch to paper ballots and new voting machines.
“Most feedback has been very positive,” said Bride. “Mostly I just hope people enjoy the experience of the new voting system and that it goes smooth for the voters.”
In Tazewell County, Clerk John Ackerman said Republican early turnout is much higher than Democrats this year.
“In 2018 it was Republicans and Democrats turning out… Democrats turning out heavier than Republicans… We’re not seeing that… We’re down drastically on Democrat votes, it really is Republicans only coming,” he said.
Vote by mail is also down in Tazewell County, said Ackerman.
“Vote by mail, we’re seeing that actually scaled back… People are losing interest in that… It’s still there, but not gaining as it had been,” he said.
Ackerman said he expects lots of voters on Tuesday.
“People love our in-place early voting. It has grown more accessible… [In] Tazewell County… more people show up on Election Day itself. Our elections are predominantly held that way, so I expect a heavy turnout tomorrow,” he said.
He advised voters to take the time to look at their voter registration cards to avoid confusion about polling locations and to take the time to thank the election workers.
“They are volunteers… who are making sure our elections are fair and balanced,” said Ackerman.
Most polling locations open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Click here to find your polling place.