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There’s still time to cast an early ballot

Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:20 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — With the March 18 primary election just one week away, registered Bureau County voters still have the opportunity to cast early or absentee ballots if they aren’t able to get to the polls next week.

On Monday, Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus said the numbers of early voters and absentee ballots are down a bit, so far, from in previous election years. However that last week before an election typically does bring in an increase in the number of early voters and absentee ballots.

As of Monday, 128 registered Bureau County voters had cast early ballots this year and another 61 absentee ballots have been received in her office, Hieronymus said. Bureau County voters still have this week to cast early ballots during regular business hours through Friday and also from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in her office, located within the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton. Any absentee ballot must be postmarked by Monday, the day before the primary election, to be counted, she said.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, voters may also cast early ballots at Spring Valley City Hall, located at 215 N. Greenwood St. in Spring Valley. The Spring Valley City Hall voting polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday for early voting.

Looking ahead to next week’s primary, Hieronymus said she would expect voter turnout to be in the range of 22 percent of the county’s approximate 24,000 registered voters. Two years ago, there was a 24 percent voter turnout in the primary with a 17 percent voter turnout four years ago.

Looking at reasons for a low voter turnout at primary elections, Hieronymus said a lot of people have said they do not want to declare a political party, and therefore they don’t vote in primaries. Also, in next week’s primary, there aren’t a lot of contested races on the Democratic Party side, which may mean those voters may not go to the polls, she said.

Bureau County does have two county-wide contested races, but they are both on the Republican Party side, Hieronymus said. Allan Beaber, William Rosenow, Alexander Arauza and James Shipp are seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for the office of Bureau County Sheriff. Courtney Yates-Mabry and Derek Whited are seeking the Republican Party nomination for the office of Bureau County Treasurer.

There are also referendum questions on the ballot for voters in the city of Spring Valley, the village of Arlington, and the Tiskilwa Rural Fire Protection District, all dealing with proposed taxes. Also, voters in the Cherry Grade School District will vote on a referendum to deactivate the school district and send its students to Dimmick Community Consolidated School District.

Those referendums are binding and are determined by a simple majority vote, Hieronymus said. Registered voters who want to vote on only their particular referendum question may request a non-partisan ballot. She would expect larger voter turnout in those areas with referendums.

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