Voter turnout at Jones College Prep High School in the South Loop was low on Tuesday morning, which may be due to the heavy numbers of voters who cast early ballots for the mayoral and other municipal races.
The Chicago Board of Elections reported that nearly 90,000 voters cast their ballots before Tuesday, which was an early voting record for Chicago.
“Early voting turnout was very good, I early voted because it was cold,” said Barbara Maloof, a volunteer from the 4th Ward Democratic Organization
Emanuel faces opposition from Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, 2nd Ward Ald. Robert Fioretti, community activist William Walls and businessman Willie Wilson.
Despite the highest city office being in play, mid-morning turnout at Jones College Prep was very low, though that wasn’t necessarily unexpected.
“This is a slow time of the day every year,” said poll worker Ray Dell.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stopped by Jones College Prep on Tuesday to cast her vote. It was her first stop among the 38 polling places she planned to visit Tuesday to thank election workers.
Preckwinkle said the number of early voters increases every election cycle because it is convenient and voters may have been especially motivated to vote early this year because of the issues facing the city, especially crime.
Preckwinkle voiced support for Garcia’s call for the Chicago Police Department to put 1,000 more officers on the streets.
“It’s better to have more eyes and ears on the streets,” she said.
Meanwhile, Emanuel has instead called on officers to work more overtime.
Preckwinkle said she understood both sides, adding it costs a lot to hire more officers and keep them on the streets. She also pointed to the city’s public schools as another hot topic of concern for voters.
Preckwinkle, herself a former teacher, taught at public, private and parochial schools in her teaching career. She said parochial schools were beneficial when she was a teacher because they offered an alternative to neighborhood schools.
“What’s happening in our city is disturbing to me,” Preckwinkle said
Parents are looking for the best school in their region, and they are trying to get their kids out of neighborhood schools, she said.
Voter and parent, Melissa Potter, said she is worried about the quality of the city’s schools.
She said PTAs should be required to pool their money so wealthier neighborhood schools do not have more money and programs than others.
“I’m very opposed to private education and think that all public schools should have equal funding,” Potter said.
“I think our education system here in Chicago is a wreck,” Potter said.