Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Turnout Tepid for Illinois Primary Election

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Turnout Tepid for Illinois Primary Election

Article excerpt

The weather was fair and the choices many, but voter turnout was only average for Illinois' primary election Tuesday.

Voters were choosing - from thousands of candidates statewide - the nominees who will appear on ballots for the November general election.

In some cases, those decisions set the scene for hard-fought battles, one of them being between the presumed GOP nominee for governor, incumbent Jim Edgar, and any of the Democratic front-runners who promised to give him the fight of his life.

There were even last-minute disputes among Democrats about which candidate Edgar would most fear: Dawn Clark Netsch, Roland W. Burris or Richard Phelan.

In other cases, there seemed no point to having an election at all. For instance, Rep. Glenn Poshard, D-Marion, had no opposition in his party or from any Republican. The GOP can name a candidate later.

"Despite the fact that registration is up 150,000 voters, which you would think would signal interest, we've learned from local election officials that there's a lack of enthusiasm," said Dan White, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The board predicted a turnout of 27 to 29 percent of the 6.1 million registered voters, which White said is average for a non-presidential primary.

The highest non-presidential primary turnout was 33 percent, in 1990, he said. The highest turnout of all came to decide between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon for president in the 1960 general election - 88 percent.

On a statewide ballot packed with choices among regular Democrats, party officials were leery of five others - followers of extremist Lyndon H. Larouche Jr. - who threatened to create disarray the way the nomination of two LaRouche disciples did in 1986.

Party leaders spent thousands of dollars on advertising to alert voters to the LaRouche candidacies.

Every state constitutional office was up for election this year and only three incumbents - Edgar, Lt. …

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