First day of absentee voting for primary yields 3 ballots
URBANA — Three ballots were cast on the first day of absentee voting for the February primary election, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said.
Seven more ballots have been requested in a Democratic primary that will determine whose names go on the ballot for Urbana mayor and city clerk.
"I'm honestly a little surprised that it's that low," Hulten said.
Only city of Urbana voters are involved in this spring's Democratic primary election, and there is no Republican primary. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Laurel Prussing is in a race against Democratic challenger Les Stratton.
Hulten said, based on the last mayoral primary election eight years ago, he's expecting roughly 5,000 voters to turn out between now and Election Day, Feb. 26. If the first day was any indication, though, the tally will not reach that number.
Stratton, who spent more than 30 years working for the city's public works department before retiring in 2010, has heavily criticized Prussing for the city's involvement in the Landmark Hotel renovation.
Prussing has defended the project, saying it is a good investment in the city's downtown area. Stratton said he has more campaign events lined up between now and Election Day.
The winner of the Feb. 26 primary would next look toward an April 9 election against Republican challenger Rex Bradfield.
Incumbent Democratic Phyllis Clark is in a battle against Democratic challenger Robert Michael Gatsche for the city clerk's office nomination. The Feb. 26 primary will effectively determine the winner, as there will be no Republican challenger on the April 9 ballot.
Absentee voters can do so in person now through Feb. 25 during business hours at the Champaign County clerk's office, 1776 E. Washington St., U.
Absentee voters may request mail-in ballots now through Feb. 18. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than Feb. 25 and arrive in the county clerk's office by March 12.
Early voting starts two weeks before the election, but as Hulten points out, in-person absentee voting and early voting are exactly the same from a voter's perspective.