CHICAGO
03/08/2012 10:12 am ET

Chicago Election: Voters Still Not Very Enthused About State Primary Races

Chicago election officials admitted this week that excitement among those who have turned out to vote early for the March 20 state primary election has been subdued -- and they said the Chicago Sun-Times' decision to cease making political endorsements isn't helping matters any.

Chicago Board of Elections chairman Langdon Neal told CBS Chicago that early voting turnout has, instead, been on par with the non-presidential primary two years ago, rather than the record numbers of voters the city saw in 2008 with President Obama on the ballot.

As for races further down the ballot, Neal told CBS that the Sun-Times' lack of endorsements this year has had a direct, negative impact on how much voters know about the judicial candidates.

This week, the election board also unveiled a new way for Chicago voters to get an answer to their most commonly-asked election question: Where do I vote? As Crain's Chicago Business reports, Chicagoans may now text their simple registration address -- such as 1200 N. Lake -- to (312) 361-8846. The board will then automatically text back the address of their polling place.

WBEZ has also published a handy guide outlining some resources to help Chicago voters learn about the judicial races in the state, such as the five-candidate contest to fill the Cook County vacancy on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Last month, Chicago was on track for a record low number of registered voters, as of then, only about 1.28 million Chicagoans were registered to vote, the lowest number since 1942 -- the farthest back the city's data goes.

Some have also called the state primary election a "low-interest" one because the congressional and local races don't offer much "to get Democratic juices flowing" in advance of the fall's general election.

If prospective voters missed the registration deadline last month, they may still register thanks to a "grace period" through March 13 at the election board's downtown headquarters.

-

CONVERSATIONS