Voting by mail doubles for Chicago mayoral primary

Voting by mail doubles for Chicago mayoral primary

Voting patterns are changing in Chicago, with mail voting doubling since 2011. One-third of all votes in the 2019 primary were sent by mail or cast early.

More than twice the number of Chicagoans voted by mail in the 2019 mayoral primary compared to the 2011 primary.

Chicago election authority data shows 57,909 city residents voted by mail in the 2019 primary. That’s more than 10% of all votes compared to about 4% eight years earlier.

Early primary voting also increased in the 2019 primary, with 125,633 Chicagoans – or more than one in five voters – casting their ballots before Election Day, the data shows. Only 73,367 city residents voted early from a local polling place in 2011.

In-person voting declined by nearly one-fourth between 2011 and 2019. Primary participation also dropped from 42% to 35% during that time, with every Chicago ward reporting lower overall turnout.

Among these districts, the 16th Ward reported the lowest voter turnout in all three municipal elections, with just 23% of registered voters casting a ballot in 2019. The ward includes parts of the West Englewood and Gage Park neighborhoods, east of Midway Airport.

The 19th Ward reported the highest turnout, with 57% voter participation. The ward includes the Mount Greenwood and Beverly neighborhoods, in the city’s far southwest corner.

Chicagoans who traveled to their polling place during the last mayoral election were subject to long lines and temperatures around 22 degrees. Those lines will likely be even longer this year thanks to a citywide reduction in polling locations.

Voters have the option to sign up to permanently receive a mail-in ballot for future elections, enabling them to skip the lines and cast their votes from the comfort of their own homes.

More information on how to vote by mail in 2023 can be found here.

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