County clerks react to record setting voter turnout

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 8:24 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Counties across the Stateline smash voter turnout records as tens of thousands of people show up to the polls for Tuesday’s election. Some of the area’s county clerks credit the vote by mail process as the biggest aid to voter turnout and say it even caught them by surprise.

“To see that the volume of the applications that were coming in, was it was it was unreal," Ogle County Clerk and Recorder Laura Cook said.

Across the region, voter turnout numbers set new benchmarks in Ogle county more than 82% of registered voters cast their ballot, and about 23% of those were by mail.

“We’ve received 6,285 vote by mail ballots to be processed, and then we had another 6,200 early voters," Cook said.

Those totals combine for more than 47% of ballots cast in Ogle County and that trend is common. North of the Stateline in Rock County 50,000 absentee ballots were turned in a considerable increase from 2016.

“We had 19,500 total for absentee for the November 2016 election,” Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson said.

Stephenson County’s turnout jumped about 5% from 2016. County Clerk Vici Otte says the lines we’re out the door and around the corner at many polling locations, she credits early voting for the surge.

“The voter’s knowledge of the early voting just keeps growing and it seems like you may have people that come in and early vote and it’s like I’m never going back to my poll again," Otte said.

Otte like many county clerks says she is proud of the voters in the region and election judges who gave their time to the community.

“It’s a wonderful feeling and I am so proud of my election judges that you know weathered threw this yesterday and last night they were tired," Otte said.

Other notable voter turnouts are in Winnebago County and the City of Rockford. The county reports a 71.91% voter turnout, while the city reports a 61.70% voter turnout.

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