With 100% of the precincts counted, but some absentee and provisional ballots still uncounted, here are election returns for the Illinois primary of March 18. The number of votes cast in the Democratic primary for Governor is only 438,112, even though that race was contested. By comparison, here is the number of votes cast in recent previous Democratic primaries for Illinois Governor: 2010 915,726; 2006 944,397; 2002 1,252,516; 1998 950,307.
In other words, the number of votes cast in the 2014 primary was less than half of the number of votes cast in each of the last the four preceding Democratic gubernatorial primaries. The number is apparently the lowest number of votes cast in an Illinois Democratic gubernatorial primary since the 1940’s.
The 2014 Republican primary shows 808,830 votes cast for Governor. Past Republican Illinois primary vote totals for Governor are: 2010 767,485; 2006 735,810; 2002 917,828; 1998 707,406. 2014 is the first Illinois primary with more voters choosing the Republican primary ballot than the Democratic primary ballot since 1986.
It seems clear that hundreds of thousands of Illinois Democrats chose the Republican primary ballot. Illinois is an open primary state. Illinois voter registration forms don’t ask voters to choose a party. The motivation for so many Democrats to vote in the Republican primary was that Bruce Rauner is considered to be a foe of government employee unions, whereas Kirk Dillard, his leading Republican competitor, is their friend. Rauner narrowly beat Dillard, 323,296 to 302,035.