A 2022 Get-Out-the-Vote Message: Don’t Stop at the Top!

Written by John Lopez

The 2022 General Election campaign is reaching the home stretch, and the start of expanded in-person early voting and local get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts are underway to ensure that all voters turn out to cast their ballots. In their GOTV messaging, everyone from the honorable precinct committeepersons on up should remind voters, “Don’t Stop at the Top!”

In the 2020 elections, Kane County saw four of its countywide offices flipped from Republican to Democrat control, including the open offices of county board chairman (elected at-large by popular vote) and state’s attorney.

In 2020, six-term County Treasurer David Rickert (R-Elgin) was running to succeed outgoing County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora). Corinne Pierog (D-Batavia), who had previously lost two state senate races to Jim Oberweis (R- Sugar Grove), was running.

Three days after the November 3rd election, Republican candidate Dave Rickert conceded the race. With Rickert’s concession, the Democrats flipped the county board chairmanship. Pierog became the first Democrat leader of the Kane County board in modern times.

Here were the unofficial returns when Rickert conceded the race:

Corrine Pierog 114,192 50.4%
David Rickert 112,216 49.6%
NEITHER 8,171  
BALLOTS CAST 234,579  
Source: Kane County Clerk website unofficial returns

Rickert’s deficit in votes at the time of his concession was 1,879 votes. Per the above, Pierog’s lead grew to nearly 1,000 votes when vote-by-mail ballots were added. But the number of voters who did not cast a ballot for either Pierog or Rickert was four times higher than the margin of victory. 

Clearly, both parties needed to do a “Don’t Stop at the Top” campaign in all down-ballot races, especially local races where voters hadn’t been bombarded with TV commercials during the prior months.

Kane County Republicans have asked what happened as Pierog assumed leadership of the Kane County Board as the chairman, Theresa Barreiro (D-Aurora) took over the circuit court clerk office, Penny Wegman (D-Elgin) took over office of auditor, and Jamie Mosser (D-St. Charles) took over the state attorney’s office.

Was it purely coincidental that all the Democrat nominees were women and all the Republicans were men? One thing has been confirmed, Democrats in Kane County targeted women voters in their GOTV effort in 2020.

Also, Democrats flipped one county board seat of the 24-member board elected from single-member districts, so Pierog assumed leadership of the board with a 13-11 board majority.

Whatever happened in Kane County, it affected the 14th congressional district race sufficiently to cause Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville) to win Kane County, the 2nd largest county in the 14th district.

Underwood’s defeat of Oberweis was quite a feat in that Kane County is not only his home but also the county in which his dairy business is located. 

In a national election as critical as 2022’s, all political leaders and candidates should emphasize to voters the importance of not stopping at the top. 

In 2022, GOTV efforts must strongly urge voters to move beyond Amendment 1, U.S. Senate and Illinois governor. GOTV efforts must urge voters to continue through the Illinois Supreme Court (Districts 2 & 3) race and judicial retention.

John Lopez wrote about policy and elections through the McHenry County Blog from 2019 to 2021. He is now semi-retired and does freelance analytics work. 

Follow John on Twitter: @MarcVAvelar