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Green affection short on roots here

If you just looked at the top of the ticket, you’d think Evanston voters showed a huge swing toward the Green Party in last week’s general election.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney drew 18.35 percent of the vote here, closing in on Republican Judy Barr Topinka’s 20.81 percent.

The winner, incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich, drew support from 60.83 percent of Evanston voters.

Four years ago Gov. Blagojevich got 72.79 percent of the vote in Evanston, to 24.22 percent for the Republican incumbent George Ryan, with 3 percent split among a Libertarian and an independent candidate.

So it appears that this year a lot of Evanston voters disaffected with the major party choices at the top of the ticket swung to the Green option.

Whitney did only half as well in nearby areas — drawing just 7.31 percent of the vote in Chicago and 9.23 percent in suburban Cook County.

The Evanston numbers look much worse for Green Party candidates further down the ticket. While they all did better in Evanston than in the surrounding areas, their numbers here didn’t come close to cracking double digits — 7.07 percent for Green treasurer candidate Dan Schloroff, 6.04 percent for secretary of state candidate Karen Peterson, 5.94 percent for comptroller candidate Alicia Snyder and 4.34 percent for attorney general candidate David Black.

This year Gov. Blagojevich just barely carried the rest of suburban Cook County, with 52.57 percent of the vote, but scored a landslide in Chicago, with 77.06 percent.

Evanston voters turned out in slightly larger numbers for last week’s general election than the average for suburban Cook County or Chicago.

In Evanston 51.96 percent of the registered voters showed up, compared to 50.2 percent for all of suburban Cook County and 48.59 percent in Chicago.

But in the suburbs New Trier Township took the prize for high turnout with 62.75 percent of voters turning out at the polls. Cicero Township came in last, with a turnout of 39.77 percent.

Evanston’s voter turnout last week was up slightly, from 51.67 percent in the last non-presidential general election in 2002. The total number of registered voters this year in Evanston, 44,725, is up by 538 from what it was four years ago.

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