Election Day 2022 is upon the Elmhurst community
November 10, 2022
While most students snoozed their normal school alarm this Tuesday, the rest of the country was wide awake as early as six to get their votes out for this year’s midterm elections. York High School was in fact a polling place this year, which meant that Elmhurst residents were coming in and out of the main entrance the entire day.
“I understand that a polling place at a Methodist church was a first choice, but was not available because of some difficulties in the building, either an elevator or different device didn’t work, so York High School was the backup location,” polling place volunteer, Rob Bennett, said.
The electronic ballot boxes were facing the front of the school, inside the main entrance, right at the walkway into the Commons. First-time head Pickup Judge, Julia Lundgren, was up for the challenge of helping the politically-active community and making sure that the leaders of Illinois are elected in a safe way, all after a 5 a.m. setup time at York.
“I am in charge of picking up telephone and papers, in charge of making sure everything gets set up properly, working through problems, and I make sure that the ballots get to Wheaton,” Lundgren said.
Lundgren and Bennett both grew up in a time where politics was different; they were both greatly involved in their hometown elections ever since they were eligible, or 18 years of age.
“I grew up in the city of Chicago in a politically active area, so there was a high awareness of the political process; there was a great value placed on placing your vote,” Bennett said. “As a result of that I‘ve always been aware of things. When I was old enough to vote, I did. And as I got older and could work with the election process, I did. It’s a little bit unique now, though, based on what your growing up experiences are. I think it’s wonderful that there are a lot of young type people who come out to vote, though. It’s good, it’s hopeful.”
Current York seniors made efforts to vote this Tuesday. Many of those who were 18 before Tuesday chose to register and vote; senior Finley Ewald was among that group.
“I think it’s important to vote as a young person in society because times are changing and many younger people hold different viewpoints than their older counterparts. You need to have your voice heard even though you’re young,” Ewald said.
Dermot Hughes, also a voting-eligible York senior, said that he is voting “Because this is the first time that I’m able to vote, and I think it’s important that anyone over the age of 18 who’s legally able to contribute to their community should, by voting in local elections. It affects your lives,” Hughes said.
Seniors who are just short of eligibility missed out on a chance to contribute to the community this week with their vote, but they will hopefully do so when their 18th birthday comes along.
“I definitely would be [voting today] because this election is very important and there’s a lot of important issues facing our society,” senior Jack Beckman said. “Also a lot of the elections are really close, so I feel like all our votes would actually matter a lot, and it is also our civic duty and right as a citizen to do it, so I would if I could.”
Lundgren also agrees that as citizens, every eligible voter must fulfill their civic duty in order to help get the right people in office. Sometimes the right candidate is hard to see, though.
“I just didn’t know enough about the candidates so I didn’t want to just vote along party lines not actually knowing the policies. I didn’t want to go in and do it blindly not knowing much about it,” said eligible non-voter Collin Rice.
Bennett was asked what he would say to someone who chose not to vote at this midterm. He strongly feels that the only possible way for positive change to occur is if everyone’s opinion is counted through a vote:
“Don’t be such a cynic. It’s a precious privilege to vote, to be aware of what your government is going to be,” Bennett said. “The media doesn’t help any by some of the things that are said. Use your opportunity to get involved, use your opportunity to vote, it’s a privilege.”