Chicago, IL —
Despite sunshine and warm temperatures, voter turnout in the March 20 Illinois primary was "extremely low" in the city according to the Chicago Board of Elections.
With the percentage of voter turnout in the lower 20s, it's believed this was the lowest turnout ever for a presidential primary.
"Yesterday's election turnout was, indeed, low," said Equality Illinois
CEO Bernard Cherkasov. "A number of factors could have influenced that for voters, including the fact that we had uncontested presidential primary on the Democratic side and the Republican primary had candidates who were vying for the title of most anti-gay."
Collar counties, which are typically Republican strongholds, saw better turnout near 30 percent.
Mitt Romney cruised to victory defeating his closest rival, Rick Santorum. Romney wins 41 Illinois delegates.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democrat Jan Schakowsky, an LGBT ally, had little problem defeating Simon Ribeiro.
14th District state Rep. Kelly Cassidy defeated challenger Paula Basta in the most-watched primary in Chicago's LGBT community. The LGBT support and vote was divided between the candidates, both whom are longtime lesbian advocates and support marriage equality.
Openly gay 13th District state Rep. Greg Harris ran unopposed. 40th District state Rep. Deb Mell, an out lesbian, ran unopposed in the primary and will face Antoinette "Toni" Puccio-Johnson in the November general election.
There were a number of LGBT wins and loses in the Judicial races.
"Despite low participation, yesterday's election produced great results," concluded Cherkasov. "In nearly 90% of the races, Equality Illinois
PAC's endorsed candidates won the primary."
According to Cherkasov, "Equality Illinois
PAC had committed unprecedented amounts of dollars, reinforced by phonebankers and canvassers to make sure that our community's priorities were heard at ballot boxes in every corner of the state."
With a marriage equality bill introduced by Harris, Mell and Cassidy in the Illinois General Assembly, advocates for marriage equality say the November elections will be crucial for allies to LGBT community.
"Being supportive of LGBT issues and appealing to LGBT voters is a positive for the overwhelming majority of the electorate," said Jeremy Gottschalk, president of the Equality Illinois
PAC Board of Directors. "This should be a message for the general election in November that running against equal rights is a losing proposition."
According to EQIL PAC, no one who voted for the civil union bill lost on Tuesday.
Full election coverage available in the Windy City Times