Chicago couldn’t have gotten better weather for Election Day if we had ordered it in advance. Around my neighborhood there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Just a cool, crisp breeze coming off Lake Michigan to make it a perfect fall election day.
This was my second time ever voting in the state of Illinois. I previously voted in the presidential election that was the buzz around this town. Favorite son and Senator Barack Obama was the man to beat. Many voters united to show their support at the polls.
What a difference a day makes. Two years ago when I went to my precinct to vote, I had to wait in line. And, I always vote early or mid-morning, getting it out of the way so I can go on with my day. Today, I walked right up and voted. No waiting. Just right down to business. Nothing like the scene I encountered the last time I voted.
I requested a touch screen since here in Illinois the ballots are like Florida’s, punch outs. There was only one machine and I waited all of maybe 3 minutes. The room was pretty quiet. The volunteers were just sitting around waiting for someone to walk in. At one point there were as many volunteers as there were voters.
As I turned to leave I couldn’t help but notice that there was only one woman waiting to vote. A few of the booths were empty. Otherwise, the volunteers were milling around or sitting, discussing where they would order for lunch.
It felt as if someone let the wind out of the sails. Election Day 2010 doesn’t have the flair, the feel, the finesse of the last election. I stopped a few people on the street to inquire who they voted for. After the third person, I had to change my question to “Did you vote?” I have not seen so much apathy in such an all-important election in a long time. Perhaps its the sign of the times and things to come. Or, maybe many Windy City citizens are not aware of what exactly is on the line.
It could have been my neighborhood that showed little enthusiasm for the voting process. If I were to put my finger on one particular factor, I would reckon it to be the negative campaign ads. So much has been said about those TV commercials geared towards capturing your vote. Many referred to them as nasty, hostile, finger-pointing, and the most used phrase, mud-slinging.
Another factor could be the candidates themselves. Several Chicagoans pointed out their disdain for Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Bill Brady. They didn’t like Quinn’s performance as governor, but they equally don’t like the Brady money; a millionaire who couldn’t possibly relate to the average person out here struggling today. Some associated Quinn with Blagojevich, convinced he knew about and supported the deposed ex-governor’s exploits.
Then there was an issue of Brady being opposed to a woman’s choice, disagreeing with abortion. He is also opposed to abortion in cases of incest and rape. This is a complete turn-off for a lot of female voters. Brady’s not getting it on too good with the gay community, either. Quinn is criticized for letting out all those prisoners prematurely which enabled them to go back out and commit more crimes–quickly. That whole release thing went over poorly.
Some believe the situation in our state, in the country as well, is so far gone that no one can help to restore it to it’s former glory. Even if it can be brought back to days past when we were more prosperous, some are convinced it won’t matter if a Republican or Democrat is in office to do it. As one senior citizen commented “They are all a bunch of crooks and liars. The whole lot!”
For an Election Day, its awfully quiet. There’s not much talk. No buzz in the air. No one even asked me if I voted. I passed by the bank, the drug store, the grocery store, and walked along the streets. I tried to ask one woman walking her dog if she voted and she tried to get away form me. She said voting was personal and did not wish to discuss it. Now, there’s a happy citizen who can’t wait to exercise her constitutional right!
Well, I certainly hope all those voters are at other precincts, or waiting until the end of their work day to go to the polls. Illinois is in a tight race for governor and the senate seat vacated by President Obama. Like any state in the union, it has its challenges and issues. Hopefully the people came out to speak their peace today. If they didn’t, they have no one to blame.