Just over half of Hyde Park-Kenwood registered voters went to the polls in this year’s midterm elections.
Though the certified election results are coming later this month, the local voter turnout as of Thursday, Nov. 10 is 53.58% — far less than the 2018 midterm rate, 74.19%, or the rate in the 2020 general election, 88.19%.
In Hyde Park, turnout was highest in the 5th Ward's 24th Precinct, comprising the area around the University of Chicago campus, south of 55th Street and largely west of Woodlawn Avenue. There, 73.26% of registered voters cast ballots, 452 out of 617.
Local turnout was the lowest in the 5th Ward's 14th Precinct, between the railroad viaduct, Stony Island Avenue, and 56th and 63rd streets, where 365 out of 841 registered voters submitted ballots (about 43.4%).
Nevertheless, all Hyde Park-Kenwood precincts this year had turnouts exceeding the city’s turnout rate this year, 41.36%. Local midterm turnout was also slightly better than in the 2019 municipal elections: around 45% in the primary and 47.68% in the runoff.
There are now 22,805 registered voters in Hyde Park-Kenwood, up 499 people from 2018; 12,218 of them voted.
Turnout this year was 47.61% in the 4th Ward, 46.43% in the 5th and 33.9% in the 20th; the drop in turnout in each ward was similar compared to 2018 midterm levels. (Those three wards now comprise Hyde Park-Kenwood, after redistricting; constituents continue to have the alderpersons who were elected to represent them in the 2019 municipal elections until next year's elections.)
As a point of comparison, 40.67% of 3rd Ward registered voters turned out this year, and 35.93% did in the 7th Ward.
In an interview, Cook County executive and Democratic Party Chairwoman Toni Preckwinkle, who is also the 4th Ward's Democratic committeewoman, said that turnout was up in suburban DuPage and Kane counties, where there were contested races compared to "nominal" local GOP opposition here.
"We had a much different situation here in Cook County in terms of people's perceptions of what was at stake," she said. "I think contested races drove turnout in some of the surrounding counties. And since we had fewer contested races, our voters may have decided that everybody was going to be OK and that it wasn't imperative that they turn out."
"We as a party did three mailings to support our candidates. We did a lot of social media and texting encouraging people to come out and vote, and we also advertised for the first time on Black radio. We did a lot of different things to remind people that there was an election and encourage them to vote," she said. "I'm grateful for the work the party did; we always wish that turnout is as high as possible."
Nine wards had turnouts exceeding 50%; turnout was highest in the Southwest Side 19th Ward, comprising Beverly and Mount Greenwood, where more than 60% of registered voters came out. Turnout was below 30% in a handful of wards and below 25% in one, the South Side 15th Ward, comprising sections of Back of the Yards, West Englewood and Brighton Park.