Turnout for the hotly contested special election to replace disgraced U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been very low, city and county election watchers in Chicago and the suburbs are reporting Tuesday afternoon.
In Chicago, turnout was “shaping up to be among the lowest turnouts in recent decades,” according to a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
It wasn’t much better in the surrounding suburbs or in Will County.
Election judges in a representative sampling of Chicago precincts in the 2nd Congressional District reported that 11 percent of registered voters had turned out as of 1:45 p.m., according to a statement from Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen.
These numbers included election day voting, early voting and absentee ballots returned in those precincts.
In Will County, Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said estimates from field technicians for her office project turnout in that part of the district will be “less than 10 percent, very low.”
In suburban Cook County, turnout was expected to be between 10 and 20 percent, according to Courtney Greve, a spokeswoman for County Clerk David Orr’s office.
But Greve also said turnout has been “very, very low,” and said the 20 percent projection would be at the very high end of the scale.
To matters worse, a south suburban polling place was closed Tuesday afternoon because of a nearby fire, Greve said.
The fire broke out at 3 p.m. in a building across the street from Precinct 46 at the Golden Towers Senior City, 1706 E. End Ave. in Chicago Heights. The fire department has blocked several streets surrounding the fire, she said.
Residents and poll workers remain in the building, but voters will be unable to access the polling place. Orr’s office said it will notify the public when the site reopens or when election materials can be moved to a nearby precinct.
Allen noted that a low turnout is to be expected with a special primary and special election. Still, the numbers forecast a turnout in the mid-teens and it’s shaping up to be among the lowest turnouts in recent decades.
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