Inflation, the economy and crime were issues listed by a number of voters – some lining up to 15 people – as early voting stretched across Lake County on Monday ahead of the general election of November 8.
“I’m always surprised when I go to the grocery store,” said Doris Santi of Lake Forest as she stood in line at Lake Forest Town Hall. “I only buy one. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a family of four.
Voters began voting at 18 open early voting locations across the county on Monday, as 17 additional spots opened to supplement the one that has been operating since Sept. 29 at the Lake County Courthouse and Administration Building, making the voting more convenient.
“It’s a very long line for the first day of early voting,” said former state senator Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest, while waiting to vote in Lake Forest. “I am delighted to vote.”
“It’s super busy,” added Victoria Ratnaswamy, election judge at Deerspring Pool in Deerfield.
Lake County Clerk Robin O’Connor said as of 1 p.m. Monday, 2,636 people had cast ballots in the first four hours of polling. Of those, 194 voted in Deerspring and 164 in Lake Forest.
“Wow, that’s pretty remarkable for day one,” she said. “Everything was calm today. When something is wrong, I usually hear about it very quickly. I didn’t hear anything.
Garrett said one of the reasons she voted early was to devote her energy to soliciting Lake County Judge Elizabeth Rochford’s campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court. Rochford is the Democratic candidate.
“I want to tell people that I voted for her,” Garrett said. “She is the most qualified candidate in the running. She has been deemed highly qualified and highly recommended by the Illinois State Bar Association.
John Diefenbach of Lake Forest said he voted early to avoid larger crowds as Election Day approached. Although he declined to say who he voted for at the top of the ballot, he flagged the name of former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran for the state Supreme Court. Curran is Rochford’s GOP opponent.
“He’s done a good job as a sheriff, and he’s been there for a while,” Diefenbach said. “He served us well.”
Karen O’Brien of Lincolnshire voted in Deerspring. She said she considered this election to be very important. She also voted early to avoid larger crowds ahead of the election. She didn’t talk about her choices, but she had a strong reaction when asked about important matters.
“Oh my God, are you kidding? There are so many,” O’Brien said, citing the economy, crime and the border. “I’m going to tell my kids to make sure they vote,” she added, saying they were in their late twenties. “It’s their future.”
Early voting continues daily at Deerspring, Lake Forest, the Township of Antioch office in Lake Villa, the Township of Avon office in Round Lake Park, the Township of Ela office in Lake Zurich, the office of the Fremont Township in Mundelein and Gurnee Town Hall.
Other early voting locations are at the Highland Park Public Library, Lake Barrington Village Hall, Lake County Central Permitting Facility in Libertyville, Wauconda Township Office, William E. Peterson Park in Buffalo Grove, and the Zion City Hall.
There are extended hours at the Grant Township Office in Ingleside, the Jane Addams Center in Bowen Park in Waukegan, the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Mundelein Fire Department Station 1 and the North Chicago City Hall.
Some people did not come to mark their ballot. A man said he came to drop off his absentee ballot in the secure drop box inside the Deerspring site. O’Connor said there were drop boxes at all early voting centers.
“They’re on the inside, so election judges can keep an eye on them,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said there are six other drop boxes where people can drop off their mail-in ballot. They are located in the County Building, Vernon Hills Juvenile Branch Court, Park City Branch Court, Mundelein Branch Court, Lake County Licensing Facility, and the Round Lake branch at Round Lake Beach.
While on Election Day voters must go to their assigned polling place, O’Connor said they can go to any early voting location in the county to vote before November 8. .