Early voting turnout drops for upcoming school board race

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Early voting turnout drops for upcoming school board race

Graphic by Mande Younge/Daily Senior Staffer

Graphic by Mande Younge/Daily Senior Staffer

Graphic by Mande Younge/Daily Senior Staffer

Marissa Page, Assistant City Editor

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Early voting in Evanston to elect new school board members dropped by nearly 15 percent from early turnout in the previous election.

The Civic Center saw 1,087 voters turn out early for the 2015 election, which will determine three spots on both the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education and the Evanston Township High School District 202 school board. In the last consolidated school board election in 2011, 1,265 Evanston residents voted early, according to the Cook County clerk website. The voting period that year was 16 days, compared to the 13-day period this year.

Early voting in the Cook County consolidated election closed Saturday.

Five candidates are running for the open spots on the District 202 board and four are running to fill out the District 65 board. Two candidates in each race are incumbents.

Jonathan Baum, a current District 202 board member running for re-election, said he thought the small pool of candidates was one factor that contributed to lower early voter turnout.

“I have generally detected a lesser intensity about this election than four years ago,” Baum said. “I think there’s less in the way of really hot issues out there (than in the previous election) for both school boards.”

Running for District 65 are incumbents Omar Brown and Richard Rykhus, as well as Jennifer Phillips and Adrian Dortch. District 202 board incumbents Baum and Mark Metz seek to reclaim their seats, with newcomers Monique Parsons, Anne Sills and Dortch also in the race.

All candidates’ websites address the theme of strengthening the relationship between ETHS — the only school in District 202 — and District 65.

Although Dortch pointed out that Spring Break falling during the early voting period could have contributed to lower numbers, he said he feels Evanston parents have been let down by their educational system, leading to possible apathy in the board elections.

“The interest in the educational system is down,” Dortch said. “The schools don’t really have a presence and outreach into the community. A lot of the achievement gap is not just with the students, it’s the same parents who went to the school system who didn’t get that information as well.”

Email: marissapage2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @marissahpage

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