Village president candidates draw lackluster turnout
By Davida Amenta
Shorewood village trustee
Shorewood’s voter turnout for the April 6, 2021 election was anemic in comparison with previous years.
Only 36% of registered voters showed up, either by voting early or by coming out to the polls on election day. Voter turnout in the spring of 2020 was 64%, spring 2019 turnout was 53%, and spring turnout in 2018 was 55%.
One explanation may be that the number of registered voters in Shorewood has increased by roughly one quarter between 2018 and 2021. It’s possible that many of the people registered to vote for the 2020 Presidential election have less interest in local races. The Covid pandemic certainly had an impact since most candidates were prevented from canvassing door to door.
In comparison with the 2018 election for village president, the turnout pattern between the three polling locations also showed some changes. In 2018, when Allison Rozek won over Paul Zovic with 103 votes, the west side had a turnout of 58% compared with 53% in the southeast wards. This year, turnout was essentially the same throughout the Village. Ann McKaig’s winning margin over Jessica Carpenter was 88 votes.
The official results also report undervotes, or ballots that had no vote for a particular race. In the race for Village President, there were 177 undervotes, or about twice the margin between the two candidates. For the School Board race, there were 266 undervotes. In that race, Ellen Eckman won over Traci Clark with only 36 votes.
An error in reporting of election results to poll watchers resulted in some election night drama. According to Sara Bruckman, Village Clerk, two election inspectors transposed some numbers when reporting from the official tape from the voting machines to a reporting summary called the Election Night Call in Sheet. The error credited Traci Clark with 326 votes when actually she had only 236 votes at one polling location. These numbers would normally be checked by the chief inspector, but she reportedly had a serious fall earlier in the day and was unavailable.
After the announcement of the votes, poll watchers and the candidates deemed Clark the winner of the race. The error was discovered when Bruckman compared the County official results with the call-in sheets. Bruckman has stressed that official results were not changed, and the error only affected the unofficial results that were announced election night to poll watchers.
Bruckman added, “We will not be utilizing the ENCIS to share results with the public going forward, only the official results tape.”