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Illinois Moving Primary Election Back To March

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Voters cast their ballots in suburban Chicago. (credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Voters cast their ballots in suburban Chicago. (credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — After a failed, short-lived experiment, the primary election in Illinois this year will be held on March 20, nearly two months later than in 2008 and 2010.

When Barack Obama was running for president four years ago, Illinois wanted to have an earlier voice in the process.

So, the primary was moved to the first Tuesday in February.


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However, during the congressional elections two years ago, voter turnout plummeted to below 25 percent. Now, the state has moved its primary back to the third Tuesday in March.

Cook County clerk David Orr thinks the February date was a mistake.

“It’s very difficult on the candidates.” he said. “It’s difficult on the public. It means early voting starts in January, bad weather. So we made the right decision to go back to March.”

There is a downside, Orr said.

If the Republican presidential nomination is decided earlier in the season, Illinois voters might view their primary votes as meaningless.

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