Most St. Clair County voters suffer from a political disability because the county packs more of them into precincts than the law allows.
Returns from the April 4 election show that to some degree, turnout decreases as precinct population increases.
Among 216 precincts, 118 exceed the limit of 800 voters.
Among precincts over the limit, nearly half hold more than 1,000 voters.
In O’Fallon Township, 12 of 18 precincts hold more than 1,000 voters.
Precinct 12 in Caseyville Township holds 2,096.
Turnout reached its peak in “proper” precincts, topping 40 percent in five of Canteen Township’s nine precincts, all three of Marissa’s precincts and the single precincts Lenzburg and Stites.
Mascoutah Township’s four precincts contain 6,088 voters, an average of 1,522. The county board could split those into eight proper precincts with an average of 761 voters, and the law requires that they do so.
Illinois law allows them to split precincts at 600.
The number of voters per precinct generally grows with distance from the Mississippi River.
Fifteen of 25 precincts in East St. Louis Township comply with the law, and the average precinct holds 763 voters.
No precinct in East St. Louis Township fell short of 15 percent.
Ten of 21 precincts in Centreville Township comply, and the average precinct holds 810 voters.
In Caseyville Township, 13 of 26 precincts comply, and the average precinct holds 943 voters.
Turnout there fell short of 15 percent in two of three precincts with more than 1,700 voters. Turnout fell short of 15 percent in two other improper precincts. In one of 13 proper precincts, turnout fell short of 15 percent.
Fourteen of 35 precincts in Belleville Township comply, and the average precinct holds 864 voters.
In the April 4 election, the Belleville precinct with the most voters achieved the lowest turnout rate.
It happened in precinct 26, with 12 percent turnout among 1,635 voters.
Among five other precincts in Belleville Township with more than 1,000 voters, turnout fell short of 15 percent in two.
Turnout fell short of 15 percent in one of 14 proper precincts.
Fourteen of 31 precincts in St. Clair Township comply with the law, and the average precinct holds 879 voters.
Turnout there fell short of 15 percent in two of five precincts with more than 1,200 voters. Turnout fell short of 15 percent in three of 14 proper precincts.
Two of 18 precincts in O’Fallon Township comply, and the average precinct holds 1,087 voters.
The packing problem persists in less densely populated townships.
In Shiloh Valley Township, precinct 5 holds 1,957 voters, precinct 1 holds 1,693, and precinct 2 holds 1,304.
Two proper precincts bring the township’s average down to 1,253.
In Millstadt Township, precinct 2 holds 1,550 voters, precinct 1 holds 1,187, precinct 5 holds 1,033, and precinct four holds 931.
Precinct 3 complies, at 604, bringing the average down to 1,061.
Freeburg Township’s precincts hold 1,308, 1,299, and 1,264, an average of 1,290.
Smithton Township’s precincts hold 1,355, 1,094, and 847, an average of 1,099.
Precinct 1 in Lebanon Township holds 1,683, more than the township’s two proper precincts together.
Precincts in some townships comply completely.
Nine precincts in Canteen Township range from 514 to 664, and three precincts in Marissa Township range from 493 to 570.
Two precincts in Fayetteville Township hold 742 and 486.
Single precincts in three townships comply by default, with 664 voters in Lenzburg, 566 in Englemann, and 511 in Stites.