Democrats across the country are watching Illinois as the race for U.S. Senate between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk comes to an end tonight. A win by Giannoulias would likely mean a continued majority for Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
The Drudge Report has listed incomplete exit polling results from
Illinois' U.S. Senate race. According to the conservative website, U.S.
Rep. Mark Kirk is holding a six point lead over State Treasurer Alexi
These numbers should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as Nate Silver explains here.
A little before 1:30 p.m., Karen Johnson and Laterra Barnett (at left and right in the photo, respectively) emerged from the polling place at Williams Elementary, a school at 27th and Dearborn in Chicago, having just cast their ballots. Barnett, who lives in the Dearborn Homes, the public housing development adjacent to Williams, voted a straight Democratic ticket. She noted GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady had discussed lowering the state's minimum wage. "He wants to stop that $8.25," she said. Barnett had been encouraging neighbors to vote and worrying about turnout today. "This is just as major as the presidential," Barnett said. By early afternoon today, the Williams Elementary polling place had seen just 23 registered voters show up to cast a ballot, according to an election judge watching the process unfold inside of the school's tidy gymnasium. "Rush hour hasn't come yet," the judge said.
Things were moving a bit faster over at the polling place at Mollison Elementary at 44th and King Drive -- 116 people had cast ballots by approximately 2 p.m., an election judge said, and a few people were still finishing their ballots. With President Barack Obama's home literally just a couple of miles away in Hyde Park, it's no surprise that voters at Mollison were thinking of Obama this afternoon. Felicia Daniels, for example, said she voted for U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias because, "For one, my president loves him."
A little further south, the 4th Ward Democratic headquarters was busy with volunteers picking up door knocking lists for specific precincts and phone banking in a narrow, second floor office. The 4th Ward is Cook County Board President candidate Toni Preckwinkle's home base -- she's represented the district since 1991 -- and a joint effort between her ward organization, her county-wide campaign, and SEIU (whose state council sponsors this website) is meant to leave no registered voter's door unknocked. Preckwinkle's GOTV director David Hatch said "strong turnout areas" on the city's South and West Sides and in the South Suburbs would also be targeted. Here's Hatch talking about today's push:
The estimated results of turnout today will start rolling in shortly. As we noted in the post below, the state elections board expects 53 percent of registered voters in Chicago and
Cook County to participate in this year's elections. With the 5 p.m., post-work hour drawing nearer, whether or not a rush of voters shows up at polling stations in Chicago and suburban Cook is what many progressives will be looking for.