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Turnout shows locals care about voting

There were plenty of election winners Tuesday night in Lincoln County. Cindy Hyde-Smith easily carried the county; Joseph Durr did the same in his race for chancery judge; Judge Mike Taylor’s race was a bit closer, but he prevailed; and there were school board candidate winners.

We congratulate those who won. But the real winner from Tuesday night may be the democratic process. Turnout across the county was near 62 percent. Almost 13,000 voters cast a ballot — that’s nearly twice that of the last midterm election cycle in 2014.

This year’s race had plenty to offer local voters: a hometown U.S. Senate candidate, school board races and contested judicial races. And voters responded.

“That U.S. Senate race was one of the main topics, but then we also had some school board members and judges with candidates opposing them,” Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield said. “Lincoln County was very busy Tuesday. Sixty-two percent in Lincoln County was a great turnout — that’s up there with our top elections for most turnout. That was a great turnout.”

Bairfield said several polling places hit near-record turnout numbers — Halbert Heights recorded a 71 percent turnout, with nearly 1,100 total votes cast. The Norfield and Old Brook precincts hit 70 percent, the City Hall precinct hit 69 percent and 67 percent of the Caseyville voters cast a ballot.

Those numbers show just how important voting remains to Lincoln Countians.

And one race showed just how valuable every vote is.  Timothy Cunningham barely won the school board’s District 5 seat. Just a handful of ballots pushed him to 50.04 percent. Though he drew far more votes than his opponents, it only took two or three votes to push him above the 50 percent plus one threshold. Had he not  reached that threshold, the race would have gone to a runoff.

We are grateful for the civic engagement of this county. Well done.