Effingham County saw a massive voter turnout for Tuesday’s General Election to the tune of 74 percent of registered voters. The County has over 23,755 who are registered, meaning that 17,750 hit the polls Tuesday which is a significant 2 percent increase from the 2012 General Election. The county heavily favored Republican candidates giving President-Elect Donald Trump 77 percent of the vote. In the Illinois Senate race, the county leaned strongly towards Republican Mark Kirk with 72 percent of the vote. Kirk fell to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. The also voted largely for Republican Comptroller Choice Leslie Munger, who was defeated by Democrat Susana Mendoza. The day was also a major win for Effingham County State’s Attorney, and Republican, Bryan Kibler who beat out Democrat Challenger Lupita Thomson with 73 percent of the vote.
The huge turnout brought along it’s own challenges for County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel. A big surge of some 200 same-day voters, in addition to absentee ballots, caused a backup that delayed local results until around 9:40 p.m. on election day.
Hirtzel says that the county will attempt to remedy the issue by adding an additional tabulation machine for the next election in 2018. Additionally, there’s simply a lot of work that election judges need to do on election day. For them, the day starts at 5 a.m. and ends well after 7 p.m. after votes for their precincts are entered. To prevent fraud, judges also have to account for every ballot that is taken out to the precinct.
Overall, things went smoothly throughout the day. According to Hirtzel there were a few hiccups with machines early in the morning, coupled with a few folks attempting to enter polling places with campaign clothing, which is illegal.