Less than one percent of voters in Black wards have voted in the February 28 elections and, in the 16th Ward, only 18 people have voted so far during Early Voting, according to a Crusader analysis of the latest data from the Chicago Board of Elections.
The news comes as election officials prepare to expand Early Voting next week on February 13 to all 50 wards.
Early Voting has been held since January 26 at 191 N. Clark and 69 W. Washington in the Loop.
Data show that as of February 6, about 1,843 of more than 1.5 million registered voters in Chicago have cast their ballots during Early Voting. That’s less than one percent of all registered voters in the city.
Turnout is even lower among voters from the 17 Black wards who traveled downtown to cast their ballots. Data show that overall, only 731 of 546,615 registered voters in Black wards have cast their ballots so far. That’s one ten thousandths of all combined registered voters in the 17 Black wards.
The Black wards that have had the highest turnout so far are the 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards. The highest among the three is the 4th Ward, which historically has the highest voter turnout among the Black wards with its active, liberal voters.
According to the latest data, in the 4th Ward, which includes the South Loop, Bronzeville, Kenwood and Hyde Park, about 116 of nearly 31,000 voters have cast their ballots. The second highest is the 3rd Ward, which includes parts of the South Loop, Bronzeville, Washington Park and Englewood. Data show that only 108 of more than 33,000 registered voters in the 3rd Ward have gone to the polls. In the 5th Ward, which includes a chunk of Hyde Park, South Shore, Woodlawn and Greater Grand Crossing, only 60 of nearly 27,000 registered voters have cast their ballots for the February 28 Election.
The 16th, 27th and 28th are among the Black wards with the lowest voter turnout during the Early Voting. In the 16th Ward, which historically has had the lowest voter turnout in any election, only 18 of more than 26,000 registered voters have gone to the polls. In the 27th Ward, only 51 of nearly 36,000 registered voters have cast their ballots. In the 28th Ward, only 36 of nearly 29,000 registered voters have voted.
The turnout is likely to increase as Early Voting expands to all 50 wards on Monday, February 13. Voters will be able to vote between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, Early Voting will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the February 28 election, voters will decide from among nine candidates who will be Chicago’s next mayor. Among those in the crowded field are seven Black candidates, including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
In the aldermanic races in the Black wards, five have already been decided, as Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd), Greg Mitchell (7th), David Moore (17th), Walter Burnett (27th) and Jason Ervin (28th) are all running unopposed and will likely be re-elected.
Four aldermanic races in the Black wards are up for grabs with no incumbent seeking re-election. They include the 4th, 5th, 6th and 21st Wards. Alderman Sophia King (4th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th) gave up their seats to run for mayor against Lightfoot. Veteran aldermen Leslie Hairston (5th) and Howard Brookins (21st) decided not to run for re-election.