High voter turnout expected in Will, DuPage counties

Voter turnout could be as high as 45 percent Tuesday in DuPage and Will counties with the presidential race energizing both Republican and Democratic voters, election officials said.

DuPage Election Commission Executive Director Bob Saar and Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots both are predicting a strong turnout for a primary election. There are about 396,500 registered voters in Will and more than 572,000 registered voters in DuPage.

"I was going to go 50 percent to be honest with you," Schultz Voots said. "I expect more people to come out because we're electing a new president."

The last time voter turnout in DuPage was that high for a general primary election was in 2008, when Barack Obama first ran for president. The turnout for that election was 44.4 percent.

Saar said many of the factors that motivated people to go to the polls then exist now.

"We don't have an incumbent president running for re-election," he said. "There's also a compelling race on both sides."

Election results in other states show the campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders have been fueling voter turnout.

"It seems like a lot more people are paying attention to the process than they have in past years," Saar said.

Another sign that turnout will be high in DuPage and Will is the number of early voters.

As of Thursday morning, DuPage had roughly 15,300 early voters. And the early-voting period won't end until Monday.

"Hundreds of people are showing up to vote," Saar said. "I suspect that we will end up anywhere around 18,000 to 19,000 (early voters) before it's all said and done."

DuPage also received nearly 7,000 ballots through the mail - more mail ballots than it got during the 2012 primary election.

Meanwhile in Will County, Schultz Voots said more than 7,300 early ballots had been cast as of Thursday morning. In addition, the county has received 4,541 mail ballots, she said.

Because of the anticipated voter turnout, the DuPage Election Commission had to order extra "I Voted" stickers.

"We know we have enough ballots," Saar said. "But the last thing we wanted to do is run out of 'I Voted' stickers at the end of the day."

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