By Zach Arbogast
Although citizens are always encouraged to “speak with their vote” come election time, not many chose to April 4.
Ogle County has 33,480 registered voters, but across 52 precincts, only 7,362 people cast votes to shape their local governments at the Consolidated Election.
That accounts for 21.99 percent of the county, compared to 72.79 in November’s presidential election.
What accounts for the enormous difference? Ogle County Clerk Laura Cook thinks people underestimate the importance of their local government.
“It’s easy to blame it on a presidential election being more popular, but when it comes down to it, I think people feel the smaller, local elections don’t affect them as much,” said Cook. “I disagree; if anything, they are extremely important.”
Frontrunners for turnout were Buffalo with 39.63 percent, Rockvale with 37.05, Pine Rock worth 36.01, White Rock with 35.42, Leaf River with 35.12, Lynnville with 31.46, and Lafayette with 30.97.
The lowest turnout was for Oregon-Nashua, with an 8.09 percent voter turnout.
Early voting counts were down as well, showing only 400 early voters, compared to 2,600 in November.
Cook commented how proud she was of the local election judges, and her staff at the office.
“Everything was completed and in shortly after 9 p.m., which is lightning fast,” said Cook. “It’s all thanks to the local elections judges and staff here, who put in such a long day and still found the energy to get everything finished quickly.”
Races on the April 4 ballot included cities and villages, townships, school districts, community college districts, library districts, fire prevention districts, park districts, and a forest preserve district.