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South Loop Voters Flock To Polls To Keep Democrats in Office

jones-college-prep-pollingVoters eager to elect Democrats headed to their polling place at Jones College Prep in the South Loop on Tuesday morning.

Election worker Shawn Jackson, 25, said he didn’t agree with what the Republican Party stood for and what the candidates were doing.

“I really want [the Democrats] in office,” Jackson said. “They can at least up the minimum wage, so people that work can get paid more money so they can support their families.”

Simplicio Rodriguez, 25, and a former election judge said he wanted to see the Democratic party win because he is a union member.

“I know some Republican parties might not be interested in having a union or even increasing the minimum wage, and that’s a concern not only for me, but for my family. I’m in the lower bracket,” said Rodriguez.

Voters were casting their ballots for candidates for the U.S. Senate, the House, the Illinois legislature and the Cook County board. They were also voting for either Gov. Pat Quinn, who is seeking a second term, or Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.

[pullquote]According to the Chicago Tribune, nearly 242,000 voters cast early ballots in Chicago since Oct. 20 – an increase from the 170,00 votes cast in the last governor’s election in 2010.

Also, the number of mail-in ballots in the city and country jumped from 49,000 four years ago to at least 66,174 and were still incoming. Election authorities also reported that there were significant increases in early and absentee voting.[/pullquote]

In the days leading up to election day, both candidates displayed a significant number of negative ads about their competitors.

Rodriguez said all the negative ads made him feel “bombarded.”

Jackson said the public is accustomed to lots of attack ads on TV.

“When people are trying to win, of course you are going to hear the negative things because the negative things persuade people from voting for [them],” he added.

Jamarius Esper, 20 and a polling place worker, gave the negative ads a thumbs-down. “Usually when someone is running for something they bring out the good things in [themselves] but they never bring out the bad things that they are doing,” he said. “So I kind of think that the negative commercials are good and bad at the same time.”

Gia, a voter who refused to give her last name, said it was “our No. 1 responsibility besides taking care of our family” to vote.

Other voters agreed.

“I just think it’s important to vote, no matter what,” said Rodriguez. “You kind of have to choose whatever poison is best for you. You have to express whatever you think is more important in your life.”

Jackson said if voters didn’t take advantage of the right to vote, they had no right to complain.

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