By Jenna Dooley
ROCKFORD — Officials are optimistic about voter turnout in this year’s primary election in Rockford.
Turnout for early voting in Rockford so far has been “above average,” according to Rockford Board of Elections Executive Director Stacey Bixby.
Early voting began Feb. 21 at the election office. A second location at Emmanuel Episcopal Church opened earlier this month. Since then, Bixby says nearly 1,500 people have voted early in the city.
“Some people would say the home rule [question] is going to bring more people out,” Bixby said. “If that’s what it’s going to take, I hope so, because primary elections and our local elections are as important, if not more, than the general and presidential elections because these people are the ones who govern us.”
A considerable amount of money has been spent on both sides of the home rule issue to entice voters to go to the polls. Supporters say the measure would give the city of Rockford more independence from Springfield to diversify revenue. Critics argue it will lead to an increase in property taxes.
She says it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which ballot issues and races motivate people to show up to the polls, but says the ballot also includes the race for Illinois governor. The spring primary will be held March 20.