Local expert says Illinois primaries carry heavy political weight

Illinois and Missouri are holding primaries Tuesday, and crews are already setting up for voters. A local expert says Illinois’ delegates are carrying more weight now than they have in a decade.

Before voters or even poll workers hit their precincts, Louis Mitchell and his crews are at every spot in Jackson County dropping off equipment for the primary.

"We’re putting up the voting booths for the primary in Illinois,” said Mitchell.

"Primaries are pretty important to vote, maybe more important than the (general) election, actually," Mitchell said.

Like millions of people, Mitchell says he’ll cast his ballot Tuesday.

John Jackson at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says Illinois’ delegates have never been this hotly contested.

"I think this will be the biggest role we’ve ever played," said Jackson.

Both parties award their delegates at the congressional district level. Democrats will divvy up their 182 based on a proportional value of votes cast, while Republicans hand out their 69 votes with a winner-take-all method, according to Jackson. He says Illinois’ delegates could make or break a candidate’s campaign Tuesday night.

"So we’re a prize well worth capturing, and we’re really going to make a difference on both sides," Jackson said.

"After these primaries here — Florida, Ohio, Illinois — I think we’ll find out who the two front runners are definitely going to be,” Mitchell said.

With so much on the line, Mitchell says he won’t miss his chance to vote.

Polls in Illinois and Missouri open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.

To find your Illinois polling place, click here

To find your Missouri polling place, click here

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