A day after Chicago’s mayoral election, which resulted in a runoff between incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the only thing decided is that voters were not inspired by the slate of candidates, resulting in near record low turnout.
Emanuel, who is seeking his second four-year term, did not achieve the 50 percent plus 1 vote margin necessary to avoid an April runoff election.
Patrice Morris, an election worker in the South Loop, blamed the slate of candidates, saying she didn’t care for any of them and was not excited about the citywide election. Morris refrained from even watching any of the televised debates.
Morris characterized Emanuel, as well as candidates Willie Wilson and William “Dock” Walls as unimpressive. She did not even mention Garcia or Ald. Robert Fioretti, who are also running.
“Rahm is money hungry,” Morris said. “Willie Wilson is crazy all around the board. Dock Walls has run three times for mayor.”
Morris was one of a handful of election workers interviewed Tuesday as voters cast ballots for mayor and all 50 aldermen.
She said voter turnout was light Tuesday morning, adding that only 60 voters had come to the polls by 9:15 a.m. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and remained open until 7 p.m.
Weather may have also played a role in keeping voters away from the polls.
Temperatures were only predicted to reach 29 degrees, 9 degrees colder than the day’s historical average. Cold winds also gusted up to 30 miles an hour.
Michelle Jenkins, a poll worker in the Washington Park area on the city’s South Side, said it felt a lot colder than the predicted temperature.
Jenkins said only 52 voters had come to the polling place by 9 a.m. She was working at the Liberty Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Drive.
Morris, despite her indifference toward the candidates, and despite the fact she did not cast a vote, still voiced strong opinions about many issues confronting the city, such as child care, health care and additional funds for research.
She criticized Emanuel for closing of 50 public schools in 2013 and supporting charter schools.
“We need schools in our communities,” Morris said. “We need libraries in our communities.”
Morris also called for the elimination of red light cameras at intersections, saying they were used mainly in “predominantly poor neighborhoods,” while remaining conspicuously absent in wealthier areas of the city.
“They’re taking money out of our pockets,” Morris said.