BLOOMINGTON — Voter turnout Tuesday was still forecast to beat 2013 by late afternoon, with polls set to close at 7.
As of 4:18 p.m., 8,225 people had voted in the City of Bloomington, according to the election commission. That's a turnout of about 16.5 percent of the 49,846 of voters registered in the city.
The McLean County Clerk’s Office, which administers elections everywhere in McLean County except Bloomington, doesn’t keep a running tally of votes cast, but Clerk Kathy Michael said she still expects turnout to hit 25 percent.
In Tuesday's elections, people are voting for mayors, including in Bloomington and Normal; city and town council members; school board members; Heartland Community College board members; and some township seats.
Paul Shannon, executive director of the Bloomington Election Commission, said 1,329 of Bloomington voters were people who voted early, meaning 6,896 were citizens who voted at the polls as of Tuesday afternoon.
The busiest polling place in the city was at First Baptist Church, where 487 ballots were cast as of 4:18 p.m.
"It's going smoothly," Shannon said. "We're not having any issues pop up."
Turnout for the April 2013 election was 19.73 percent for the clerk's office, according to county records. Tuesday's election included 63,914 registered voters through the clerk's office. Turnout four years ago in Bloomington was 20.9 percent, according BEC records.
In McLean County and in Normal, about 900 people voted early, compared with about 500 for local elections four years ago, Michael said.
Turnout across Normal has been about average, she said, including at Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center. Students hoped to attract several hundred voters to that site, but only 160 had voted there this afternoon.
“Nothing stands out as huge,” she said of turnout in the town. “When voters get off work, we'll see some of the numbers pick up a bit.”
Michael said turnout is much higher in small communities like Lexington and Dry Grove Township that have controversial races. She said Lexington could pass 50 percent turnout.
“Any time you see a road commissioner race you’ll see higher turnout,” she said. Both communities have contested races for that position.
Even though a few election judges had to call in sick because of flu, other election judges were available to cover for them, Michael said.
"Everyone opened on time and there are no reports of problems," she said.
Look to pantagraph.com for complete coverage after the polls close and in the printed newspaper on Wednesday. Use the hashtag #twincityvotes to let us know how our voting experience is today.
If you're not sure whether you are registered, or where you should cast your vote, contact your election authority.
In the city of Bloomington, that's the Bloomington Election Commission (www.becvote.org). Elsewhere in McLean County, including the town of Normal, it's the McLean County Clerk's office (www.mcleancountyil.gov/countyclerk).
Derek Beigh, Maria Nagle and Paul Swiech contributed to this report.