Voters made Forest Park history on April 2, with record numbers showing up to vote for Rory Hoskins, the village’s first African-American mayor.
Vote totals will change slightly as mail and provisional ballots are tabulated in the coming days, but, with 3,085 ballots already counted, the greatest number of Forest Park voters turned out in at least 20 years, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office. The Clerk only keeps online records for 20 years.
Hoskins received the highest number of votes for a mayoral candidate in 20 years, with 1,813 casting their support. He beat opponent Chris Harris by a 58.8 percent to 41.2 percent margin, which also represents the greatest spread between mayoral candidates in Forest Park history. Harris also captured the fewest votes for a mayoral candidate in 20 years, with just 1,272 voters casting in favor of his candidacy.
In terms of the total number of ballots cast, Forest Park must go back to April 1999, when Mayor Anthony Calderone faced off against then-incumbent Lorraine Popelka. Back then, 2,947 voters cast their ballots in a close race, which represents the second-highest number of ballots cast in 20 years.
The following election, in April 2003 when Calderone ran unopposed, represents the fewest voters to ever turn up at the polls. Then, just 1,506 cast their ballots.
Although more voters turned out for this race, 2019 also had a lower voter turnout than four years ago, since there are now more people registered to vote in Forest Park.
Approximately 30 percent of the 10,448 registered voters turned out to cast their ballot on April 2, compared to 33.5 percent of registered voters in April 2015. Back then, 8,523 residents were registered to vote.