Early voting spikes in county
KANKAKEE — Early voting is way up this year in Kankakee County over the last midterm election in 2014.
As of the beginning of Monday — the last day of early voting — 8,220 voters had cast their ballots in the county. The election is today with polls open until 7 p.m. Kankakee County Clerk Dan Hendrickson said this morning that the process has gone smoothly in the opening hours.
The number of votes cast prior to Monday is more than the 6,462 early ballots that were cast at this point in the 2014 midterm election and nearly the 8,562 in the 2012 presidential election.
Presidential elections typically attract far more voters than midterm elections. In 2016, 12,841 Kankakee County voters cast early ballots in the presidential election.
The early voting trends have been seen across the country. Political observers attribute the increase in early voting to Democrats upset about President Donald Trump.
The most competitive local race to be settled today features GOP incumbent Lindsay Parkhurst facing off against Democrat Lisa Dugan, a former state representative, for the Kankakee County-based 79th House District seat.
There are two other big local races for countywide offices. Republican Treasurer Nick Africano is running for re-election against Democratic challenger Ray Chamberlain. For county clerk, Hendrickson is facing Democrat Barbara Wells.
Fourteen of the 28 county board seats also are on the ballot, with contested races taking place in nine.
All statewide offices also are on the ballot, including governor, where incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner is being challenged by Democrat J.B. Pritzker.