Party affiliation confuses some voters

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As campaigns omit candidates’ party affiliations from campaign ads, poll workers have noticed some confusion among Illinois Primary voters.

“The trend over the last 20 years has been not to put on your campaign literature or your commercials whether or not you’re a Democrat or Republican,” said Macon County Clerk Steve Bean. “People come (to the polls) and they say ‘Well, that person isn’t on our ballot, and we say they’re on the other party’s ballot.”

Bean said those voters simply exchange their ballot for one of the other party. Still, he recommends voters check sample ballots which are available online through the county’s website.

Millikin Political Science Professor Amber Lusvardi said the increasing omission of party affiliation from campaign ads comes in part from changes in voter identity.

“We’ve known over the last few decades that people are moving away from political parties,” Lusvardi said. “As of the last Gallup poll … 30 percent of people responded that they felt like they were a Democrat, 30 percent felt like they were a Republican and 37 percent … responded that they feel like they’re independents.”

Lusvardi said that changes in campaign finance law have allowed more outside groups not associated with political parties to run their own ads, a change that may also explain the absence of party names from ads.

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