Clark, Champaign voter turnout slightly above 2016 numbers

Voters at Fulton Elementary in Springfield. Nov. 3, 2020.
Voters at Fulton Elementary in Springfield. Nov. 3, 2020.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Voter turnout in Clark and Champaign counties for this year’s presidential election were slightly ahead of numbers reported in 2016 as provisional ballots are still being counted and not every absentee ballot has been returned.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,461 provisional ballots had been cast and 1,375 absentee ballots have yet to be returned in Clark County. There were 582 provisional ballots cast in Champaign County and 358 absentee ballots have not been returned to election officials.

In order for those absentee ballots to be counted, they must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and returned to the local Board of Elections no later than 10 days after election day.

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Overall voter turnout for this election in Clark County is 70.5% of registered voters. That is close to what was reported in 2016, according to Jason Baker, the director for the Clark County Board of Elections.

However, that figure for this election is expected to go up once provisional and additional absentee ballots are counted.

As of Tuesday night, 63,372 ballots had been cast in Clark County compared to a final tally of 62,756 in 2016. Absentee voting in the county, including early in-person voting, was unprecedented this year. More than 43% of registered voters had cast a ballot before election day on Tuesday.

A total of 41,868 ballots were cast in Clark County during early voting for this election, which started on Oct. 6. Out of those totals, 20,656 ballots were sent through the mail or deposited in the county’s drop box, while 20,835 people voted early in-person, according to the local Board of Elections.

In 2016, there was a total of 23,134 absentee ballots cast during the entirety of that presidential election, including early in-person votes as well as ballots sent through the mail.

Election day turnout in Clark County saw a little over 22,000 people vote in-person. Baker said that he is expecting that number to be higher.

“The rural areas were busier than the city. A lot of people took advantage of early voting in the city of Springfield,” he said.

Baker said the coronavirus pandemic played a part in the sharp increase in those types of ballots being requested for this election.

In Champaign County, almost 74% of registered voters cast ballots for this election. That number was 72% in 2016.

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A total of 19,566 votes have been tallied in the county compared to the 18,548 reported in 2016.

A majority of ballots were cast before Tuesday. The county saw an early voter turnout of 46% and a total of 12,270 ballots were cast during that period, with 6,771 people voting early in-person, according to Champaign County election officials.

Meredith Bodey, the director for the Champaign County Board of Elections, noted that about 300 voters throughout the election had reported not receiving requested absentee ballots or that those ballots were not sent to local election officials.

Bodey said that in some cases ballots had to be resent to those voters.

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