Though the street corners, businesses, and lawns plastered with
campaign signs may suggest otherwise, voter turnout at two polling
places in Illinois' 21st House district has been extremely low.
In the three hours Progress Illinois spent at both Delgado Kanoon Magnet School and Octavio Paz Charter School on Chicago's West Side, a half-dozen voters showed up to cast their ballots by early afternoon. Meanwhile, some election officials remained positive.
“We've had 29
people all day so far,” said Kenny Griggs, a volunteer election
administrator at Kanoon. “But things usually pick up when people get off
work to pick up their kids.”
Even with the warm temperatures pushing 80 degrees, by 3 p.m. Octavio Paz had seen just 48 voters, but volunteers there said the lower numbers weren't much of a shock.
“I expected this. A lot of people don't care to vote because they don't think their leaders do anything. Look at the violence in this neighborhood. It's all talk, no action.” said Denise Blank, a volunteer at Octavio Paz.
Voter and district resident Gustavo Leon wouldn't disclose who he voted for, but told Progress Illinois he felt he had to do his “duty” even if other residents refused to vote.
“I think a lot of people don't vote because they think every time it's going to be the same thing,” Gustavo said. “People expect changes when they go out and vote, but things end up the same.”
The 21st Illinois House district contains parts of Garfield Park, a section of Chicago that's seen some of the highest numbers of home foreclosures in recent history.
The district is also home to the race between Rudy Lozano, Jr., who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the 23rd district in 2010, and journalist-turned-political-newcomer Silvana Tabares.
Though Tabares was the former editor of bilingual newspaper Extra, which focuses on Latino issues and culture, Lozano has far more name recognition in the predominantly Latino district.
Check back with Progress Illinois for more from Lozano's campaign later tonight.