Turnout high, voters say why
Election judge Vivian Mikolite (far right) talks with voters, including Hinsdale Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael Goebel (far left), as they wait to check in at the polls in Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hinsdale.
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Updated: November 7, 2012 6:10PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Election judges at Field Park School were amazed by the turnout, more than 85 percent of registered voters by 5 p.m.
Lyons Township Precinct 21 had 216 absentee voters, and on Election Day, another 756 voters had cast ballots before dinner time, said Don Carnes, an election judge.
“It’s been non-stop all day. We’ve had no breaks,” Carnes said. “There was a line out the door when we started at 6 a.m. This has been a major showing.”
Michelle Castle said she voted for Barack Obama again, because “he needs a bit more time to undo the economy and the difficulties he inherited.”
Castle said her twin 9-year-old sons, who attend Field Park School, urged their parents and grandmother to vote.
“It’s good to get the kids involved, that they’re taking their civic duty and responsibility seriously.”
Sharon Schink of Hinsdale was an Obama supporter four years ago, but she said he lost her vote the night of the first debate between him and Romney.
Obama “honestly seems apathetic at times to me,” Schink said.
While watching the first televised debate, Schink said she expected Romney to “shoot himself in the foot,” or say something stupid, based on how he had been portrayed by the media. Instead, the Republican candidate impressed her.
“He reminded me of my dad, who was a business person, (like Romney),” Schink said.
Romney “seems like he will work with the other side. You have to do that in business. When do you get to just ram things through” without negotiating? she asked.
Schink said for awhile she was undecided. “I went back and forth. I think both (Romney and Obama) are respectful and intelligent guys. But I wasn’t happy about Benghazi. . . . And I don’t think we are doing as well as we should be.”
Then came Obama’s poor performance in the first debate.
“That night he lost my vote,” Schink said.
Elizabeth Renwick, 23, of Hinsdale voted in her first presidential election at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hinsdale.
“It’s fun because I am old enough where things matter,” Renwick said. Four years ago, she was attending college in Indiana and didn’t make the trip home to vote.
She cast her first vote for president forRomney.
“I like his stance on things, the way he presents himself,” Renwick said. “He seems much more familiar and more personable than Obama. I think that helps a lot of people.”
Renwick did not fill out the entire ballot because she did not research all the races, she said.
Kristin Edstrom of Hinsdale, too, said she voted for Romney.
“I’ve been a longtime supporter. I believe he is the best person for the job,” Edstrom said.
Edstrom said she voted a straight Republican ballot Tuesday, although that has not always been the case.
“I have voted non-Republican in the past. I’m partial to who I think if the best candidate,” Edstrom said.
Edstrom was happy to see the strong voter turnout.
“I love seeing the multi-generational part of it,” Edstrom said. “A friend of my son who is 16 is an election judge, and here (at Redeemer Lutheran) I see judges in their 70s. Overall, it’s a multi-generational experience.”
Teachers are usually the ones giving out the stickers, but Brennan Lazzaretto of Willowbrook was determined to get a sticker for himself before leaving the polling place.
“I have to show my students tomorrow that I voted,” said Lazzaretto, a social studies teacher at Downers Grove South High School. “We stressed to them the importance of voting.”
In Clarendon Hills, several voters said they were glad that the presidential election cycle was coming to a close.
“I’m so glad it’s over; it just goes on too long,” said Valerie Kalember.
Fellow voter Jan MacLeod agreed.
“I can’t say I’ve enjoyed this,” she said. “I hate it when there’s so much bickering going on. And as much as there are more places to get information than ever before, it’s almost getting harder to get verifiable information about candidates.”
Jody Knister said she came out to vote mainly for president and for the Clarendon Hills referendum on electrical aggregation.
“I’m glad the election is over,” she said. “I’m sick of all the ads and telephone calls.”
At the Oak Brook Golf Club today, election judge Scott Martenson said voter turnout was the largest he’s seen in 12 years working elections.
“It’s been pretty steady all day, especially in the morning when it was really crowded,” Martenson said. “I think so many people are voting today because things are sol polarized now. We haven’t had any problems; I’m happy to see the civility.”
Election judges in Hinsdale said voters were lined up outside when they arrived.
“We had 200 people vote in the first half-hour,” after the polls opened at 6 a.m., said Meredith Sayre, an election judge at the polls in the Hinsdale Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
“That’s one every 15 seconds,” said her fellow judge, A. Taylor. “We fortunately had enough judges to take care of the big rush.”
By 4:55 p.m. Election Day, 1,068 of the 2,294 voters registered at their polls had voted. Another 181 had voted early.
Poll-watcher Carla Feinkind was impressed by how smoothly the judges handled the morning rush at Hinsdale United Methodist Church.
“These people were fantastic,” said Feinkind, who has been a poll-watcher for the past 10 years. “They were really helpful, really friendly, and super professional. At 6:02 a.m., people had ballots in their hand. From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., there was a constant stream of people.” All 12 polling stations in the church were occupied.
A small crowd of people gathered outside Burr Ridge United Church of Christ in anticipation of the polls opening, and things stayed busy throughout the day, said election judge Virginia Paulius.
“This is the busiest I’ve seen,” said Paulius. Another volunteer who has worked elections for 25 years said she had never seen such a well-attended Election Day.
As of 4 p.m. well over half the 2,623 residents of the 788th precinct had turned out to vote at the church at Plainfield and County Line Roads.
One of those was 18-year-old Reilly Owens of Burr Ridge.
“I felt pretty well prepared,” Owens said after voting for the first time. “I watched most of the debates.”
Oak Brook resident Bob Hesotian, 62, said this is the most important election in which he has voted.
“I’ve been voting for 40 years, and this is the most important one because we need to get the guy out of office who’s in there now,” Hesotian said. “He has his own agenda, and the next four years will be even worse if we don’t get him out.”