CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Election day is officially over but the work is far from finished.
As election officials continue to wait for the remaining mail-in ballots to arrive, some are reporting unexpected trends from election day.
These trends come down to voters, specifically how many came out and how they voted.
While voters in Peoria County can now take a break from the process, election officials are still dealing with the aftermath.
“We are going through voter history,” Elizabeth Gannon, Executive Director of the Peoria County Election Commission, said. “We have two weeks for vote by mail ballots to come in to process provisional ballots that were casted in the polling place.”
Gannon said, as of Wednesday, there were about 3,000 outstanding vote-by-mail ballots that could still come in. She said about 13% of voters choice the mailing route.
She also said voters gave positive feedback on the switch to paper ballots for this election, but she said there was a hiccup that caused some results to come in slowly.
“We had a few polling places that when they came back, the tamper proof seal had been compromised and it wasn’t malicious I think the election judges just didn’t follow the proper procedure,” Gannon said. “So as a result, we went back to the paper and we counted every single paper ballot that had gone through the scanner so that took a little bit longer, but we were able to go through and make sure those votes were verified properly and we ensured the integrity of that election by following through with the paper ballot backup.”
She also highlighted a disappointing trend, saying Peoria County only had a 50% voter turnout compared to about 56% in 2018.
“I was really expecting Peoria County to be between 55 and 60 percent, so we were a little lower than I anticipated,” Gannon said.
Conversely, Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said voter turnout in Tazewell County was up to just about 58% compared to 57% in 2018.
“We had a lot of activity in that 91st District in the Northern part of the county,” Ackerman said. “In the Southern part of the county the 17th Congressional District brought a lot of people forward to vote.”
He also noted another surprising trend with how many people chose the vote-by-mail option.
“How we see people voted already, we had 76% of Tazewell County residents [who actually voted] utilizing voting on election day at the polls,” Ackerman said. “14% utilized vote-by-mail and 10% utilized our early voting before election day. That is a historic first to see vote-by-mail higher than what our in-person early vote number was.”
Officials said for those who are concerned about their vote-by-mail ballots getting counted, their ballots will be processed and counted as long as they’re postmarked by election day and received within the two week timeframe afterwards.