Dan and Carolyn Dial have lived in DeKalb for more than 25 years – long enough to develop an appreciation for how important the mayor is in city government.
In fact, the mayoral race was the main reason they voted Tuesday at Hopkins Park Community Center. Their choice: John Rey, whose background, maturity and experience they valued.
They were among 4,490 people who voted in the DeKalb mayoral race, according to unofficial election results posted Tuesday night. That’s down slightly from the 4,785 people who voted in the 2009 DeKalb mayoral contest.
Overall, 13,043 of the 58,550 registered voters cast ballots in DeKalb County, for a turnout of 22.3 percent.
The turnout was slightly above DeKalb County Clerk John Acardo’s prediction of 21 percent, which is typical for municipal and township races.
“We’re always hoping that we shatter that record and see a significant turnout,” Acardo said.
Some areas were particularly busy, including polling places in Sandwich. Acardo said he had to dispatch more ballots to Afton, Milan and Victor townships, which had highly contested races for road commissioners.
But earlier Tuesday, election judge Carolyn Watson had a book of Sudoku puzzles to occupy herself when there weren’t any voters waiting. By 4 p.m., 285 people had cast ballots at her location, but Watson was hesitant to guess whether the turnout would be above average.
“In the presidential elections, there’s always a great turnout, but in the municipal election years, it’s always slow,” said Watson, of Sycamore, who has been an election judge for 12 years. “The weather probably hasn’t helped.”
Recent statistics support that. The November election, which included the presidential race, had a 72 percent turnout, while the primary election had a 23 percent turnout. The 2011 consolidated election had a 12 percent turnout. The 2009 consolidated election, which included the last DeKalb mayoral race, saw a 22 percent turnout.
“I always say, these are the most important races,” Acardo said of the consolidated elections. “These are the people you’ll be getting an invoice from in four weeks.”