Expert: Downstate Illinois vote is 'important' during primary elections

Southern Illinois plays inportant role in primary
Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 at 6:52 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The downstate Illinois vote could be important for both political parties next Tuesday according to political expert John Jackson.

Some of the top candidates including Governor Bruce Rauner made it a point to campaign and spend money in central and southern Illinois, but Jackson says, the votes in southern Illinois do count during these primary races.

"Every vote counts always, but even more so in these small turnout elections," he said.

Jackson says voters in southern Illinois are just as important as voters up north.

"We have 35-percent of the population, we don't have 35-percent of the vote, but we are still a significant proportion of the state total," he said.

It is significant especially during the unpredictable statewide races Jackson says. Many Illinois candidates have spent money on television ads and even visited downstate leading up to the primaries next week.

"In many of these races, they are very close in the polls or the polls are showing a very large undecided category, so downstate can play a critical roll," Jackson said.

However, according to the Illinois Board of Elections, the turnout  to the polls has been extremely low for primary elections.

In 2014, only 18-percent of registered voters turned out for the primary election, and only 49-percent turned out for the general election.

One student at Southern Illinois University, Bailie Stowell, says she will be voting because she feels her voice still matters.

"Politics are our future whether we like it or not and it is important you know to help have some control over  who will be controlling our community and making major decisions for us," she said.

Herrin resident, Loretta Wells, agrees.

"We are a part of the state, we should have a say as the northern part," Wells said. "So I think it's important that we get out and vote and there should be more that do it."

Jackson encourages voters to exercise their right.

"You are impacted directly many many different ways in your daily life whether you recognize that or not, so it's important for people to get out and exercise and vote," Jackson said.

In Jackson County, about 20-percent of the people are not active, but there's still more than 32,000 people registered to use their exercise their voice this election.

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