[Screenshot image from report courtesy of cookcountyclerk]

Cook County Clerk David Orr has always been one of the most innovative election officials out there – and he and his team are demonstrating that with the release of their latest post-election report examining the 2014 general election. Here’s an excerpt from David’s letter introducing the report:

The November 4, 2014 Gubernatorial General Election brought many election changes – extended hours for early voting; early voting on the Sunday before the election; expanded grace period registration and voting; Election Day registration; and electronic pollbooks in all precincts. Voting before Election Day set records, with more mail ballots being cast than ever before and a 68.5 percent increase in pre-election day voting.

The Nov. 4 election also featured one of the closest elections in Illinois history, the state treasurer’s race. That close contest was not decided until two weeks after the election, when all legally late-arriving mail ballots and valid provisional votes were counted – truly demonstrating how every vote counts.

I invite you to delve into the results and analysis of how suburban Cook County voted, in this post-election report. For example:

• Voting before Election Day – by mail or during early voting and grace period voting – grew to more than 26 percent this election, up from 15.4 percent in 2010.

• The 51,237 mail ballots cast exceeded all previous elections in suburban Cook County, with twice as many as in 2010.

• Turnout reached 49.8 percent, down from 52.5 percent in 2010 (nearly matching the 2006 turnout of 49.7 percent).

• More women than men voted – 54.2 percent vs. 45.8 percent – and voters 65 and older made up about one-third of all voters.

• Election Day registration was popular, as 3,604 people registered for the first time or updated their registration on Nov. 4. The busiest of our 18 sites was the Evanston Civic Center, where 455 citizens registered. [See map above – ed.]

• Voters of all ages used Election Day registration, but voters ages 18-34 made up nearly half of participants.

This report is a masterclass in what is possible when an election office has the ability to collect and analyze data about its operations. Thanks to David Orr and the Cook County team for preparing and sharing it with the field!