CHICAGO–Even though this is not a presidential election, Democrats and Republicans have been pushing hard for people to vote this year. This morning, many people hit the polls before work.
“I understand the importance of this off season voting,”Marcus Scarbrough said from a parking lot at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill.
He cast his vote for Gov. Pat Quinn because he agrees with his platform. It’s Republican candidate Bruce Rauner he is wary about.
“I don’t trust his message and I don’t believe that he will follow through on it, I think he still has some personal agendas tied to maybe corporate or big money so I just feel more comfortable voting with the Democrat,” he said.
Joyce Kency came with her husband and she said she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from casting her vote. If people want to see change, they must vote, she said.
“Everyone needs to vote because we have to make this world right,” Kency, a South Suburban resident said.
She voted for Quinn as well and said she believes he has a strong chance at being re-elected again. It will take everyone to help make that happen, she added
“If everyone comes out and votes like they should, he should win,” she said.
There is drastic difference between Quinn and Rauner and whoever wins, will change the direction of Illinois, said Attorney Juan R. Thomas, who is the chairman of the Aurora Township Democratic Committee.
“Selecting the right person to sit in the governor’s mansion in Illinois is critical, Thomas said. The governor sets the budget and the priorities for the state of Illinois so we need to make sure that we have a governor who is really committed to serving and helping people.”
“The question that voters need to really ask themselves is who has your best interest at heart,” said Laura Williams, a teacher at Irvin C. Mollison Elementary.
That question is what Fred R. asked himself before casting a vote for Quinn today. The father said he has to think of his children’s future and he knows Quinn is a strong supporter of education.
“I was taught when I was young that you vote for change for the future and I have four kids so I’m voting for their future,” he said.
Thomas said that every election is important, but this one is extremely important. People, especially African Americans need to understand non-presidential elections have direct effects on their lives.
“What we have to do is get people to understand that we need to get more Barack Obamas to run for mayor of Chicago, for City Council, for state representative because that’s where decisions are made that have a direct impact on your daily life. We get too caught up in the hype of who the next president is, instead of being focused on who your state senator or governor is.”
Thomas does have critiques for both candidates. He said Quinn hasn’t really explained what he will do differently if re-elected and that has turned away some of the African American voters. And when it comes to Rauner, well Thomas said he only hears vague responses from the republican candidate.
“I’d like to hear from him on a very practical level on what he is going to do specifically,” Thomas said.
“What is he in favor of in terms of how will he create jobs, how is he going to really help solve the crime problem in Chicago, how is he going to go into the South Side and West Side and help turn those communities around? What kind of investments is he going to make into those specific communities?”
He said these are all questions he wants answered, especially since Rauner has been campaigning in the Black communities.
Clara Gatewood Brown voted at Mollison today and said too many Black people complain, but come election time, won’t even vote. That’s not a right they have if they refuse to go to the polls, she said.
“You don’t have a right to complain if you don’t vote, you can’t sit back and say we don’t have this or that,” she said.
Thomas said that this is a tight race and he hopes that whoever wins actually commits to the Black communities throughout Illinois.
“We need economic development in our communities, we need jobs, our businesses need contracts, and our kids need good schools and safe neighborhoods to live in,” he said.
The polls are open until 7 p.m. today and you can find your precinct polling place at www.chicagoelections.com.