Illinois middle of pack on civic engagement

A new national study puts Illinois at the top for voter accessibility, but below average for voter participation.

Consumer research group WalletHub’s latest report ranks each state on several factors, from civic engagement to total political contributions and voter accessibility. After pouring through election data from the 2012 and 2014 elections, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said Illinois’ overall ranking was 23.

Illinois tied six other states for the top spot in voter accessibility for adopting early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, online voter registration and same-day registration.

“Illinois has adopted all four of those things, so that’s what set it on that above average path. But when it comes to those citizens who actually turned out and voted, those in 2012 and 2014, that’s where it could have done a little bit better,” Gonzalez said.

That was especially true for young voters, Gonzalez said. “That 35 percent [in Illinois] is quite low, especially when places like Wisconsin you see 56 percent of the vote was younger, Colorado, again, 56 percent. We’re seeing a lot higher numbers.”

“Senior citizens though, that’s about average, about 70 percent of senior citizens got out and voted in the last presidential election,” she said.

The study only focused on data from the 2012 and 2014. Gonzalez said researchers can’t wait to get their hands on updated data from this year’s election.

Overall the study concludes that there is evidence to suggest a growing lack of political engagement among Americans. That could change after this year as Illinois has more registered voters than anytime in history.

WalletHub’s complete report can be found here.

–Illinois News Network

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