JOLIET – Amid predictions of a dramatically low turnout statewide due to COVID-19, Illinois voters defied expectations to cast their ballots and ensure that democracy does not take a backseat in times of crisis. Full results are still not available at press time, but with turnout on track to far surpass 30% in Cook County with up to 200,000 early voting and mail-in ballots to come, there is room to suspect higher numbers to be the trend statewide.
This defiance of expectations was supported by record numbers of Illinoisans opting to early vote and use mail-in ballots. Leading up to the polls opening on March 17, the Illinois State Board of Elections reported that 118,000 mail-in ballots had been requested, with the Chicago Tribune noting that this number beat the state’s previous record from 1944 at the height of World War II.
This did not translate into advancement on the ballot for Andrew Yang and Yang Delegates, however. Statewide, Yang earned just over 3,700 votes, which represented 0.24% of the vote. Diving into the numbers and doing the math, though, shows a promising story for moving forward.
Only a quarter of these votes came from Cook County, the most populous county in the nation, meaning that 3 out of 4 Illinois Yang voters lived outside the county. Current reports suggest no dominant gathering of Yang voters in any particular municipality, leaving ground for future work to #MoveHumanityForward in Illinois.
Full results for Yang Delegates are still unavailable due to the backlog of mail-in and early voting ballots, but reports at press time indicate that in some counties, more votes were cast for Yang Delegates than for Yang himself. We are confident that this is the result of Illinoisans recognizing that the Humanity First movement is beyond that of any singular individual but is about WE the People fighting together to put Humanity First.
In the race to represent Illinois’s 1st Congressional District in the November General Election, an all but guaranteed rubber stamp to the 117th Congress, newcomer Sarah Gad ran an impressive campaign against Bobby L. Rush, Jr., a 23-year veteran of the Chicago and Democratic Machine. While not winning enough votes to unseat Rush, Gad scored clear victories in Will County where she denied Rush the majority of the votes and claimed nearly 30%.
In Cook County, Gad denied Rush a supermajority of the vote, holding Rush to only 58% of the vote at press time. This is a dramatic finish for a veteran of the Machine to not reach even 60% in Cook County, and it is a clear testament to the strength and drive of the voices of Illinoisans demanding change. Gad currently is on track for a finish above 10% with early voting and mail-in ballots continuing to be counted.
The most exciting race of the night was in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District. Marie Newman returned from a narrow defeat in the 2018 Primary to unseat Daniel Lipinski and end five decades of Lipinski representation in the district. This race was closely watched nationally, and the voters of the 3rd Congressional District made clear to deliver a decisive blow to the Machine last night for the nation to see. Newman will continue on to the General Election in November to face off with Republican Mike Fricilone.
Beyond the election, March 17 proved to be a pivotal moment for the Humanity First movement as Universal Basic Income became a talking point and likely policy for the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 response. This would never have been possible without the tenacity and determination of WE the People in using the power of our voices to create change. Together, we moved both sides of the aisle to put Humanity First during this crisis.
We can say for certain that the movement for a better Illinois for tomorrow is alive and well. While vocal Humanity First candidates did not advance in their contests, they scored significant victories and struck at the heart of the Machine. These victories, including those of candidates who align with Humanity First initiatives statewide, will strengthen the will of Illinoisans to take back our government in Springfield and to fight the Machine to make Illinois work for WE the People and put Humanity First.
Humanity First for Illinois PAC is a grassroots, people-driven registered Political Action Committee fighting for Humanity First initiatives in Illinois and for candidates up and down the ballot who will fight with us at the local, state, and federal level. We are committed to not accepting corporate donations and are only able to realize this critical work through the generosity of WE the People. Join the Humanity First movement, and help shape the Illinois of tomorrow by making a generous gift of as little as $10 at secure.actblue.com/donate/humanityfirstil.