More than 67 percent of suburban election races uncontested

Date: 
March 27, 2017
Press Release
Elections

The April 4th Consolidated Election in suburban Cook County will feature more than 2,500 candidates and over 1,000 contests, but 67 percent of those races are uncontested, Cook County Clerk David Orr announced today.

Clerk Orr reminds voters of the importance of local elections. “Although voter turnout is typically lower for Consolidated Elections, the stakes are extremely high,” Orr said. “These races determine everything from education policy to local tax and infrastructure decisions. Suburban Cook County voters need to make their voices heard because local elections are the ones that truly hit home.”

There are 2,541 candidates running for office in suburban Cook County on April 4. Voters will choose among candidates for a host of offices which may include mayor, village trustee, alderman, village clerk, fire protection district board, library board, park district board and elementary, high school, and community college boards.

In addition to the daunting process of running for office, there are other possible explanations for why so many races are uncontested. “Unfortunately, Illinois is notorious for an overabundance of units of government, making it a challenge for voters to keep track of what each office does,” Orr said. “In some cases a race may be uncontested because voters are pleased with the representation they receive from their elected officials.”

Just 334 of the 1031 contests, or 32.4 percent, are contested. The percentage of contested races for the April 4 election is in line with recent comparable elections. In the 2015 Consolidated Election, 37 percent of races were contested, while in 2013, 36 percent were contested.

There are 20 suburban races with no candidates including school, library and park district boards, Township Assessor and Village Clerk. Although these races do not have candidates, the elected position can still be won by an official write-in candidate. If there is no write-in candidate for that contest, the respective elected body appoints an individual following the election.

Clerk Orr reminds suburban Cook County residents that opportunities exist for those who want to make a difference in their communities. The Clerk’s Office’s new Running for Office (RFO) Starter Kit helps make the process easier for local candidates. The online application guides prospective candidates through the tasks of assembling the needed paperwork in order to run for local office in suburban Cook County.

Since the launch of the RFO Starter Kit last October, 75 percent of users generated candidate packets for school board elections. This may help explain why 47 percent of high school district elections are contested this year, compared to 39 percent in the last comparable election in 2013.

Suburban Cook County voters can visit the Clerk’s Voter Information Tool to view a sample ballot, find their Election Day polling place and verify their voter registration before the April 4 Consolidated Election.

Note: Referenda are not included in this analysis. There are 37 referenda in the April 4 election.
 

APRIL 4, 2017 CONSOLIDATED ELECTION

 

#
Contests

#
Contested

#
Uncontested

%
Contested

%
Uncontested

Townships

109

13

96

11.9%

88.1%

Municipalities

444

175

269

39.4%

60.6%

Elementary Districts

144

60

84

41.7%

58.3%

High School Districts

36

17

19

47.2%

52.8%

Community College Districts

15

9

6

60.0%

40.0%

Unit School Districts

5

5

0

100.0%

0.0%

Park Districts

118

28

90

23.7%

76.3%

Fire Protection Districts

14

3

11

21.4%

78.6%

Library Districts

129

24

105

18.6%

81.4%

Township School Trustees

11

0

11

0.0%

100.0%

County School Trustees

6

0

6

0.0%

100.0%

Total Local Races

1031

334

697

32.4%

67.6%

 

 

2017 CONSOLIDATED ELECTION COMPARED TO PAST
CONSOLIDATED ELECTIONS

Year

Candidates

Contests

Percent Contested

Turnout

2017

2,541

1,031

32.4%

N/A

2015

2,080

699

36.9%

14%

2013

2,688

993

36.0%

19%

2011

2,107

716

40.0%

17%

 


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