(The Center Square) – The Illinois general midterm election wrapped up last week and included more voters than any gubernatorial election since 1998.
With 3.8 million Illinoisans voting in 79 competitive Illinois House elections, the state’s 2022 general election was the most contested in the past two decades. Races included Congressional seats, Illinois House and Senate races, and a constitutional amendment.
Bryce Hill of the Illinois Policy Institute explained why Illinois saw more voters go to the polls this election.
“We saw historically uncompetitive districts see two major party candidates running, giving more people a choice among who their representative is,” Hill told The Center Square. “So when you have two candidates, the voter turnout will be higher.”
Hill also discussed how non-candidate-related issues like the Amendment 1, which has yet to be decided, also lured people to the polling stations.
“Nonparty-related measures like ballot initiatives, property tax levees or things like that will see greater voter participation,” Hill said.
The high number of contested races during the election can also lead to better government within the state. Hill explained how voters could shape their candidates during their campaigns.
“Higher voter turnout and greater competition in elections are associated with lower levels of corruption,” Hill said. “When people face election pressure and have two legitimate candidates running, they are more accountable to their constituents than to special interest groups.”
The final tally of votes for last week’s election won’t be certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections until Dec. 9.
Democrats in Springfield have been clouded for years by corruption-related investigations and federal charges, the most notable being longtime former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who faces more than 20 federal corruption-related charges.
After the 2022 election, Democrats will keep control of both the House and Senate heading into next year.