CHICAGO (WLS) —
The polls are open for Chicago’s mayoral election Tuesday, but turnout so far has been low.
Elections officials said in the first two hours of voting Tuesday, only four percent of voters showed up, which translates to 80,000 voters, which points towards the possibility of a record low turn out.
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Chicago election officials said voters aged 55 to 64 are the largest group of voters. But voters ages 25 to 44 happens to be the largest voting block, and numbers from Tuesday morning show they’re not turning out well right now.
“It makes me sad because I really do believe voting is a privilege but I think there’s just too many people in the field, too much confusion,” said voter Gayle Novak.
The current record low for a municipal election was set back in 2007, when only 33 percent of the voters showed up. Elections officials are hoping for some heavy traffic at the polls later in the day.
“My concern is people won’t turn out and there’s a lot of reasons,” said Hernandez. “We have 14 candidates, it’s hard to make up one’s mind. I understand totally. We want to have clear winners. We don’t want to have razor thin margins.”
By the end of Monday, a little over 125,000 had already cast their ballot. That’s ahead of the 2015 and 2011 totals.
The polls opened at 6 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m.
The LaQuinta Inn here in the Loop is one of many polling places getting ready for voters Tuesday, and they can expect to be in and out pretty quickly.
“Some of the issues that were most important to me were around public education so around what’s their plans for schools because there was a lot of talk about closing schools in the prior administration,” said voter Tim Mwangi.
“It was really based on experience and then also my perception of would they really deal with some of the corruption we have in the city,” said voter Janes Endres.
The ballot is very short but Chicagoans will have some important decisions to make, like who will be the city’s next mayor.
Fourteen people, including four women, are running to be Chicago’s next mayor, the largest number of candidates in city history. Alex Folz narrowed it down to six and then to one.
“Just trying to between those six and go with my gut and pick who I see helping the entire city the most,” Folz said.
In races where no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, voters will then cast their ballots once more in a runoff election to be held on April 2.
Elections officials are predicting a run-off because there are so many candidates. Also as of Tuesday morning, just under 30,000 vote by mail ballots are still unaccounted for.
“I think that we can be fairly sure that there is going to be a run off,” said Chicago Board of Elections Chair Marisel Hernandez. “We’re preparing for that. We’ve already prepared for that.”
Chicagoans will also be voting for city clerk, city treasurer and their ward’s alderman.
There are a couple of ways to get a free ride to the polls Tuesday.
The car-sharing company ‘Car-2-Go’ is offering $20 in credit for any Chicagoans who are going to cast their ballot. And Lyft is offering a discount of 50 percent off a ride up to $5 to polling places with the code VOTECHICAGO19.
You can count on Eyewitness News for live on-air updates throughout the night, as well as online and on our news app. We’ll have comprehensive Election Night coverage on Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
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