Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 17, 2014

New voters to hit the polls

County clerk expecting busy election day

Tony Huffman
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — If absentee ballots are any indication, Tuesday's primary election looks to be a busy one.

Four years ago, 275 absentee ballots were cast, compared to 400 this year, said Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel.

“The primary is usually a light turnout,” he said. “This year should be busier because of the sheriff's race and the tax question.”

In the 2010 primary election, 25.54 percent of the 22,567 registered voters in Effingham County cast their ballots.

A new, however small, demographic is being given the opportunity to fulfill their civic duty.

In Effingham County, more than 100 17-year-old students have registered for the primary election, following a new state law that allows them to vote if their 18th  birthday falls before the November general election.

Hirtzel made several trips to area schools in late January to register students.

“We had more students than normal registering because many of them were 17-year-olds,” he said. “Students had government classes or teachers told them about younger registration."

Many of the students, Hirtzel said, took advantage of the opportunity.

Statewide, more than 11,000 17-year-olds registered to vote in the primary. That is a small fraction of the more than 7.4 million total voters registered across the state, according to the state board of elections.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com or on Twitter @EDNTHuffman.