DECATUR — Josh Tanner’s election morning started out calm.
“All of the polling places got opened up on time and voting started regularly,” said Tanner, the Macon County clerk. “It’s been a good, smooth morning.”
The rest of Tuesday’s election day remained consistent with Tanner’s early experience.
Election judge Delores Williams hadn’t seen any voters the first two hours the Macon County Office polling location was opened. As the morning continued, voters trickled in to cast their ballots. “This is important,” Williams said. “This is where you vote, your voice is counted.”
The Illinois Consolidated General Election marks the second year Williams has been a judge. She stressed the opportunity to vote is important for the community. “But sometimes people don’t understand that,” she said.
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Before the polls opened Tuesday morning, 167 mail-in ballots were received and 1,028 voted early. The amount of early voting numbers were expected, according to Tanner.
Election judge Michael Grossman assisted voters at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center on Tuesday. By noon with approximately 80 votes handed in, the election judges were able to confirm Tanner's prediction for a steady stream of voters around lunch time.
"This is about average for this time of day," Grossman said about the four midday voters.
"But it's a puny turnout," said election judge Bob Lewis.
Rob Fleming, 42, was one of the noontime voters at the DISC. He chose to cast his ballot before he picked up his children from school. "It's early, so let's do it now," he said.
For Fleming, voting in every election is important.
"In order for my ideals to be represented, I have to put my vote towards candidates that share those ideals," he said.
Tanner said the city of Decatur had most of the contested races, compared to the surrounding communities. “There’s no referenda questions," he said, to bring out voters.
Robin Williams, a Tuesday afternoon voter, said "transparency, fairness and basically outright honesty," showing interest in "anything that's politically-motivated," were what he's kept in mind when heading to the ballots at Webster Cantrell Hall. "I’m not interested in anything that’s politically-motivated," he said.
Williams, not initially planning to vote in the local city election, said his wife convinced him to this year. "People need to vote more," Williams said.
"I was guilty of not doing that, but people need to vote more. It doesn’t matter how small an issue is or what the situation is because it all adds up."
Election Judge Deborah Lester estimated that a majority of their expected registered precinct voters had cast their vote following a day of off-and-on rushes.
A large rush hit Webster Cantrell Hall around noon, Lester said.
Judy Followell, on the other hand, reported the day to have been "steady slow," perhaps picking up a bit once or twice. The Macon County Health Department election judges said they had not expected to fill their full list of registered precinct voters.
Having 2,763 total registered voters, election judges at Main Street Church of the Living God had reported being "right around" 100 total voters shortly after 4 p.m.
"I think we need some new people here that can actually get things done," said Gaila Evans, a Decatur voter registered at the church.
The 67-year-old, who found time to vote in between work running her own shuttle service, considered the city council and school board elections to be her main focus.
"I think they’re kind of dragging their feet."
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