74 percent voter turnout in Hyde Park–Kenwood; officials explain Montgomery Place ballot shortage

Staff Writer

Hyde Park–Kenwood’s large turnout in yesterday’s election helped buoy the Democrats’ victories statewide, including those of Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker and local State Sen. Kwame Raoul (13th) as the next state attorney general.

The turnout skewed decisively Democratic, with Pritzker winning 92 percent of the vote in Hyde Park–Kenwood. The margin helped put Democrats in all of the state’s top offices.

Downtown and South Side State Rep. Juliana Stratton (5th), a Kenwood Academy alumna, was elected lieutant governor.

Officials said that large turnout contributed to a ballot shortage in the Fifth Ward’s 37th Precinct kept voters waiting for hours at the polls in Montgomery Place, 5550 S Shore Dr., where 525 people voted, compared with 623 in 2016 and 456 in 2014.

Jim Allen, a spokesman from the Chicago Board of Elections, said there were more voters included in the 37th Precinct than originally were showing on the Board’s pre-election registration total, which resulted in fewer ballots than necessary being sent there.

“We caught it in time to make sure they were all on the poll sheets in that precinct, but not in time to supply all the ballots that were needed for them,” Allen said. “We regret the error more than you know.”

Out of 22,306 registered voters in Hyde Park–Kenwood, 16,548, or 74 percent, voted in yesterday’s elections — a 10-percent jump from the neighborhoods’ turnout in the 2014 midterms, when 64 percent registered voters cast ballots. In 2016, 82.5 percent voted, but participation is historically higher in presidential election years.

The area precinct with the highest turnout, the 31st in the Fourth Ward, a lakefront section of Kenwood containing Cornell Avenue between 47th and 49th drives and the Newport Condominium Association, 4800 S Chicago Beach Dr. Turnout was 553 of 609 registered voters, or around 90.5 percent.

Turnout was around 65 percent (21,687 ballots cast from 33,291 registered voters) in the Fourth Ward and 67 percent (19,439 from 28,916) in the Fifth, the highest of any on the South Side. Turnout in the Woodlawn-based 20th Ward was around 50 percent.

In the 2014 midterm election, around 60.5 percent of Fourth Ward voters and 59 percent in the Fifth cast ballots. Turnout in the 2016 election was around 78 percent in the Fourth Ward and 77 percent in the Fifth.

Citywide turnout yesterday was 56 percent and highest in the Ravenswood-based 47th Ward, where over 76 percent of voters cast ballots.