Chicago voter turnout for the midterm election Tuesday was the highest in decades — 56 percent citywide — but that was not the case in many minority communities.
That’s according to an analysis of data from the Chicago Board of Elections.
While the turnout was the highest in 32 years for a midterm election, it was significantly lower than the city turnout in the 2016 general election, which was 71 percent.
On Tuesday, neighborhoods such as Lake View, Lincoln Park, Edgewater, and North Center saw high turnouts averaging or exceeding 70-75 percent.
Precincts in West Side neighborhoods such as East and West Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, and Belmont Cragin averaged turnouts at or below 40 percent. Those percentages were similar to South Side neighborhoods such as South Deering, Riverdale, and West Englewood.
But some South Side neighborhoods bucked that trend, with Englewood, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, and parts of Pullman above 65 percent.
There was one notable oddity, and that was the 37th Precinct in the 5th Ward, which is in the Hyde Park neighborhood showing a 119 percent percent voter turnout.
Jim Allen, the communications director for the Chicago Board of Elections, said it was a known error.
“Part of that precinct was incorrectly coded to a different precinct.” Because of that, he said the number of registered voters was lower than the amount cast there, which is why they reportedly ran out of ballots yesterday.
He said the turnout for that precinct is likely closer to 60 percent.
We’ll continue updating this story with analysis as it becomes available.
2018 Midterm election Chicago turnout by precinct
Data updated 11/9/2018
2014 vs. 2018 midterm turnout
There appeared to be stark differences in turnout between yesterday’s election and the midterm election of 2014.
Much of the turnout Chicago’s South and West sides were down dramatically compared to four years ago. A lot of that appears to be because the same areas also experienced dramatic drops in numbers of registered voters.
Some of these areas have seen the greatest loss of population, according to latest census figures.
The last straw
There appears to be a straw divide in Chicago. While 55 percent of Chicagoans voted to ban plastic straws, the referendum appears to be unpopular outside of downtown and the North Side, with much of Chicago’s outer neighborhoods voting against it.
Elliott Ramos is a digital editor who does data reporting for WBEZ. Follow him @ChicagoEl.
Editor’s note: A previous version of a map in this story incorrectly showed the voter drop-off from 2016 to 2018 instead of 2014 to 2018. The map has been updated with the correct version, which shows an even greater drop-off of voters on the South and West Sides.