Saturday is the last day for early voting for Tuesday’s election, and Chicago appears to be headed for a record-breaking turnout.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 145,964 voters had cast their ballots, according to an unofficial tally from the Chicago Board of Elections.
The average of 16,218 early voters per day in the city was a 12 percent increase from the daily average of 14,465 voters in early voting before the November 2008 election.
The Board of Elections had turnout totals by ward through October 27.
We ran the numbers and generated the following map.
Several findings stood out for us.
Whereas predominately black wards on the South and West Sides of the city had some of the highest percentages of early voting on the first day of early voting, by October 27 those ranks also included wards on the Northeast, far Northwest and Southwest areas of Chicago.
Specifically, Michele Smith’s 43rd Ward, Tom Tunney’s 44th Ward, James Cappleman’s 46th Ward and Debra Silverstein’s 50th Ward all had early voter turnout percentages greater than 8 percent. Their wards cover most of the territory from Lincoln Park north through Rogers Park and the city’s northern boundary with Evanston.
Ald. Mary O’Connor’s 41st Ward, which includes much of the land near O’Hare Airport also topped the 8 percent mark for early voting.
But if these wards’ relative early voting levels rose from the first day, what did not change was the position of the city’s wards that had a high percentage of Latino voters.
Toni Foulkes’s 15th Ward in the Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side had 42 percent Latino voters of the 16,929 registered voters. Just 274, or 1.62 percent, of those voters had voted early by October 27.
That was the lowest percentage of the city’s 50 wards.
The level was not much higher in Ariel Rebroyas’s 30th Ward, which had 48 percent Latino voters among the 19,971 registered voters.
Only 563, or 2.82 percent, of that ward’s voters had voted early as of October 27.
More generally, Hoy did a statistical analysis and found a strongly negative correlation between the percentage of Latino voters in the ward and the percentage of voters who voted early.
This means that as the percentage of Latino voters went up, the percentage of early voters went down.
These results did not surprise Juan Andrade, co-founder and president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower Latinos and other marginalized groups.
“We typically run behind everybody else,” Andrade said, referring to white and black voters. “We’ve been cracking it for 30 years and that’s still the case. The percentage of voters registered and voter turnout always lag behind the two other larger groups.
“With the advent of a new dimension to the electoral process, it’s not surprising that we lag behind the two other groups,” Andrade said.
He added that enthusiasm among Latino voters nationally is far lower in 2012 than in 2008, but cautioned against reading too much into ward level results without knowing whether early voters in each ward were Latino or not. He suggested that looking at precincts in which Latinos made up 90 percent of the voters would give a more accurate picture of voting behavior.
“That would be the way to do it,” Andrade said.