As Election Day dawned over the Pulaski Field House on the North side of the city, the cool crisp fall air was filled with excitement and anticipation. The people of the sixth precinct of the 2nd Ward waited hours to vote, some showing up at 5:45am.
“I saw people lining up when we got here at 6 and the line was nearly around the block with all waiting for us to set up and start the voting,” said Pat Lewis, an election judge.
Lewis has been an election judge for the last three elections and found early voting this year was more popular than ever before. According to her, 20 percent of all registered Illinois voters had voted early.
According to Alderman and Democratic Committeeman Bob Fioretti (2nd), people need to research the local races before coming to vote, arguing that the local elections can have more of an immediate impact on their lives.
“Illinois is ground zero when it comes to the House,” Fioretti said. “It’s important for people to get out and vote in every district. Every vote matters, no one should be discouraged to vote.”
Mitch Hutton, a firefighter in Fioretti’s ward said that this year party lines are deeper than ever before. According to him the election will come down to who gets out to vote.
“People are on one side or the other, there is a lot of hate for either side this year. The turnout is bigger than ever this year. In 2008 there were a lot but this year there are even more.”
Hutton also said knowing what judges to vote is one of the most important aspects of any election, citing that the judges go unknown all year and when people go to vote, they could vote in an incompetent judge.
“This is such an exciting time for America, Lewis said. “This is our chance to impact laws and policies that affect us, so there isn’t any excuse for anyone to not vote. It’s our time now.”