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Father and Son Team Up to Oversee Indian Prairie Polling Location

Election updates from Indian Prairie Public Library and Safety Village.

4:45 p.m. Indian Prairie Public Library

Maintaining order at the polling place is a family affair for Technical Judge Raymond Wood Jr. and his son, Election Judge Jimmy Wood.

Raymond, who has been judging elections since 1982, first got into the business for the fun of it. "I do it for the camaraderie and the friendships I make with people," he said.

Voter turnout was much lower Tuesday for the general election than it was during the primaries last spring, Raymond said.

As of 4:45 p.m., 486 people had voted out of 1,274 registered in the precinct. On the primary election day, between 725 and 775 people voted at the site. Raymond said he didn't expect today's turnout to top 600.

In 2008, however, there was a big rush between 6 and 7 p.m., he said. That election saw a huge turnout, with nearly 1,000 voters reporting.

After seeing how much his dad enjoys judging elections, Jimmy decided to sign up a few years ago too. This is the 23-year-old's fifth election as a judge.

Jimmy said one of his favorite parts of Election Day is the social aspect. "I saw 20 to 30 people I haven't seen in about five years," the Hinsdale South grad said. He even saw his bus driver from when he was in elementary school.

Eventually, Jimmy, who runs a photography business, wants to follow in his dad's footsteps and become an election judge himself. From the rapid-fire way he rattles off election statistics, it seems like Jimmy is well poised to do just that.

4:00 p.m. Safety Village

Voter turnout was so high at the polling location that the ballot box jammed around 4:00 p.m. and wouldn't accept any more ballots. Technical Judge Patricia Matthes supervised her staff as they unlocked the box to remove the ballots and secured them in a metal cabinet.

"It's not kosher, but we don't have a choice," she said.

As of 4:00 p.m., 575 people from the precinct had voted. While Matthes didn't know if the final total of voters would outnumber those who voted in the 2008 election, she said the rate of voting seemed to outpace Election Day 2008.

"It's been constant all day," she said.

Matthes said she attributed the high turnout to an increased interest in politics since the start of the Obama era.

"Things changed when Obama got in," she said. "Everyone really pays attention now."

12:30 p.m. St. John Lutheran Church

Voter turnout at has been steadier than on election day in 2008, said Election Judge Dot Noerenberg, who has been overseeing elections for more than 15 years.

"[The turnout] is kind of like in a presidential election," she said. Voter turnout traditionally is lower for midterm elections.

Election Judge James M. Thompson said he agreed, noting that in 2008, most of the voters filled out their ballots in the morning.

"The rest of the day was like a tomb," he said.

As of 12:30 p.m., 321 out of 1,300 registered voters St. John serves had voted, which is a high number for that point in the day Noerenberg said. There was a bit of a lull around noon, but she said she expects things to pick up again around 3 p.m. and again around 6 p.m.

Election Judge Mary Lou O'Toole said she attributed the high turnout to how much importance voters placed on this election.

"Of course, I think every election is important," she said. "I love it so much, I don't think I can get enough of it."

Many voters outside the polling location echoed O'Toole's sentiments, saying that they vote in every election, presidential or otherwise, because it's their civic duty.

"[I vote] so we have a voice in what goes on in government," said Pete Pulice, who said he was particularly invested in the gubernatorial and senate races this year.

Military veteran Tim Hearl said that he also considers it his civic duty to vote. In this election, he said he's concerned about restoring fiscal responsibility.

"We can't run our households the way our government's being run," said Hearl, adding that he hoped the election would oust the incumbents in nearly every seat.

 

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