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Local News

Polling places busy, minor violations sorted out

Romeoville resident Terry Vargas voted at the polls this year to support her husband’s union job.

“We’re pro-union so it was important to make sure [Gov. Pat Quinn] stays in office,” Vargas said of Quinn and his race against challenger Bruce Rauner.

The governor’s race was one of the bigger draws on Election Day, which saw a nearly 50 percent voter turnout in Will County, according to unofficial vote totals from the Will County Clerk’s Office. There were 388,057 registered voters in Will County for this election, according to the website of the county clerk’s office, and 192,669 votes cast.

“I think the turnout was pretty good,” Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said, noting the last midterm election had a 52 percent voter turnout. “We still have to count our provisional ballots, so that number is going to rise up.”

The addition of more permanent polling places in Will County and extended early voting hours led to more people voting before Election Day. But turnout was still strong Tuesday.

Voots said her office was receiving more questions from voters about voting twice at the local and permanent voting locations, election judging and voter fraud.

New Lenox resident April Marek voted in the Will County Office Building because she had a recent change of address and needed to vote at a permanent polling place.

“I wasn’t registered in New Lenox, so I had to come here,” Marek said, adding she is a regular at the polls. “A lot of women went through a lot to give me the right to vote. I’m wasting what they did if I don’t vote.”

Several other issues caught the eyes of voters Tuesday.

Romeoville resident Kari Conforti thought the minimum wage referendum was the biggest issue alongside the governor’s race. But voting, a regular civic service for Conforti, meant much more than the choices on the ballot.

“I can’t complain about anything if I don’t vote,” Conforti said.

Voting irregularities

Will County State’s Attorney spokesman Charles Pelkie said 13 minor complaints were phoned in to the state’s attorney’s election fraud hotline.

The violations occurred in precincts in Shorewood, Rockdale, Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Plainfield, Joliet and New Lenox.

“Those minor violations were looked into ... but they were resolved on-site,” Pelkie said, adding that most of the complaints were about campaigning or placing signs too close to polling places.

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