It's All About the Presidential Election in Elmhurst
No one we spoke to at the polls on Tuesday expressed an interest in the local races, but motivation to vote for the next president is stronger than ever.
Cold and rain did not keep Elmhurst residents away from the polls on Tuesday. In fact, some election judges said this was the biggest voter turnout they'd seen.
Nearly 900 voters had cast their ballots at Yorkfield Presbyterian Church by about 1:45 p.m. At Visitation, more than 600 ballots were cast by 1 p.m. And, at Crestview Park, the number was more than 600 at 2 p.m.
"We've been really busy," Crestview election judge James Coken said. "I'm guessing we'll hit a thousand. I worked the 2000 election, and this is twice as busy as that was."
Prior to Tuesday, about 80,000 residents throughout DuPage County had taken part in early voting.
Voters who appeared young enough to be voting in their first presidential election entered polling places alongside elderly citizens with walkers and canes, or hanging on to loved ones' arms.
Mirroring polarizing points of view nationally, Elmhurst voters had widely diverse reasons for coming out Tuesday.
Several young women said healthcare is their No. 1 priority.
"I'm most (concerned) about healthcare. That's a major thing for me," Jennifer Hough said before voting at Crestview Park.
Lauren Johns agreed.
"Mine would be healthcare because I'm a woman," she said, as she headed into Yorkfield Presbyterian. "I would like everything to be taken care of and not have to pay extra. I've heard … you will have to pay full price for a pap (test) and those are very expensive. I can't afford that."
Here father, Anthony Johns, had other reasons to vote.
"With healthcare, whatever happens, happens," he said. "I'm keeping an eye on the economy and where that's going."
Kim Cadagin, at Yorkfield Presbyterian, also cited the economy as her priority issue.
"I've got one (child) in college now," she said. "I'm really worried. I haven't gotten an increase in awhile."
Over at First United Methodist, the major issues ran the gamut among the steady stream of voters.
"Women's rights is a big one, especially for young women," said Freddi Chaplin. "I've already been there. But I can't believe it's been 47 years and we're still talking about Roe v Wade. Unbelievable.
"I believe if we don't continue with Obama, our country's going to be in terrible shape."
But Sandra Ringelstetter said it's time for a change.
"I don't think my vote's going to count much here, but we aren't going in the direction that I would like to see us going," she said. "I'm tired of being told that I'm wealthy when I'm not."
How was she dealing with this most divisive campaign?
"I find it's best to keep your opinions to yourself," she said. "People feel very very strongly. It's not worth it to start an argument with family or friends."
Joe Sica's daughter will not be voting the way of her parents.
"My daughter is completely opposite of us," Joe Sica said.
He said he felt his vote will not make a difference in Illinois, but it's important to exercise the right to vote.
"What's bringing me out is the fact that we've spent a lot of money and we're going to put this on our kids, debt-wise. There's got to be another way," he said. "I also believe life begins in the womb, and that's an issue that is not favored by one of the parties."
While he may not see eye-to-eye with his daughter, his wife is on the same page.
"Basically, I think we need a change right now," Marie Sica said.
The presidential race was by far the No. 1 reason—if not the only reason—voters we spoke to came out en masse Tuesday.
Of the four polling places we visited, not one person we spoke to expressed an interest in the DuPage County Board, General Assembly or Congressional races.
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