Vermilion County experienced few, if any problems, during the Nov. 3 election. The total number of local voters was fairly strong, but more than a few residents didn’t bother to cast a ballot despite efforts to make it easier than ever to do so.
And regardless of who is deemed the certified, official winner of the presidential election, that process deserves a long look with reform in mind.
Locally, Vermilion County reported 73.14 percent of its registered voters casting a vote with the city reporting 60.47 percent of its registered voters filing a ballot. Both numbers are higher than usual, but both also reflect how many people appear to simply not care.
Combining the two vote totals, there are 46,390 registered voters in Vermilion County. Of those, a total of 31,827 — 68.6 percent — cast a ballot. But the U.S. Census shows the county with 58,107 residents ages 18 and older. That means 79.8 percent of eligible adults even bothered to register, which is easy to do in Illinois. Figuring in all age-eligible adults, the county had 54.7 percent cast a ballot. Good, but not great.
In the county, the Oakwood 3 precinct listed the highest percentage of registered voters marking a ballot — 579 of 694 registered voters or 83.4 percent. The precinct is north of Interstate 74 and roughly bounded by County Road 680 East on the west, Road 2100 North on the north and Road 1100 East on the east.
The county’s Danville 14 precinct had the lowest percentage of turnout, with 237 ballots cast by 459 registered voters, or 51.63 percent. The precinct is bounded by Illinois Route 1 on the west, East Ross Lane on the north, Lyons Road on the south.
In Danville, Precinct 7 had the highest total with 481 ballots from 582 registered voters for 82.65 percent. The precinct is west of Route 1 on the city’s far north side, an odd-shaped precinct with several disconnect sections. The city precinct with the lowest total was Precinct 25 on the city’s east side. The area bounded by East Voorhees Street, Daisy Lane, Fairchild Street and just west of Glenwood Drive has 442 registered voters with only 107 casting a ballot, or 24.21 percent.
It’s difficult to imagine why registered voters did not cast a ballot in this election. Illinois law allows for plenty of options, including mail-in ballots. County and city election officials stayed open extra hours for those who wanted to vote early. And the results of the national election should prove that every vote matters.
In the presidential race, the Electoral College should be changed if not abolished altogether. It was created as a compromise at the birth of the United States. It no longer serves any real purpose. For example, New York recorded 7.7 million ballots. The state has 29 votes in the Electoral College. The combined vote totals in nine other states — Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Louisiana — tally 7.4 million votes. But those states have a combined 39 votes in the Electoral College. The scenario has allowed a candidate who did not win the popular vote to win the presidency. In other words, the majority lost.
It’s time for Congress to consider changing the rules to require the winner to accumulate a majority of the total vote, period.
The ballot serves as our voice. Ballots send messages to elected officials. Participating in elections is a privilege no American should ignore.