Election 2020 live blog: Kim Foxx rocks as GOP rival O’Brien rides ‘into sunset’ — incumbent wins commanding lead in state’s attorneys race

Here’s our coverage of the unprecedented 2020 U.S. election.

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks at her election night headquarters at the Kinzie Hotel on the Near North Side after defeating Republican candidate Pat O’Brien

Flanked by family members, incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks at her election night headquarters at the Kinzie Hotel on the Near North Side after defeating Republican candidate Pat O’Brien in the general election, Tuesday night, Nov. 3, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Complete coverage of the local and national primary and general election, including results, analysis and voter resources to keep Chicago voters informed.

It’s been an election season unlike any other.

Here’s what went down on Nov. 3, 2020, as Illinoisans voted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

11:08 p.m. Kim Foxx rocks as GOP rival O’Brien rides ‘into sunset’ — incumbent wins commanding lead in state’s attorneys race

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx secured a second term Tuesday night, racking up a double-digit lead and holding it all night until her Republican challenger conceded more than three hours after the polls closed.

“Tonight, voters chose safety and justice instead of law and order,” Foxx said in a statement. “They chose criminal justice reform and equity instead of wrongful convictions. They chose a way forward instead of going back.”

Reporters Rachel Hinton, Clare Proctor, Emmanuel Camarillo have the full story.

10:19 p.m. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx holding double-digit lead over Republican rival Pat O’Brien

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx racked up a sizeable lead in her bid for a second term Tuesday night, enjoying a double-digit margin over her Republican challenger about two and a half hours after most polls in the county closed.

Incomplete returns that trickled in Tuesday night showed Foxx leading Republican Pat O’Brien, a former Cook County judge, 52.6% to 40.8% with about 90% of precincts reporting, Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy drew 6.6% of the vote.

Election officials cautioned in the days leading up to Election Day that outstanding mail ballots could affect early leads seen in numerous races across the state on Election Night.

More than 134,000 ballots had yet to be returned from voters in suburban Cook County, and upwards of 30,000 hadn’t yet come back from Chicago voters. The totals tallied from the 90% of precincts that were counted represented a little over 1.5 million votes.

Reporters Rachel Hinton, Clare Proctor, and Emmanuel Camarillo have the full story.

10 p.m. Iris Martinez elected as first Latina Cook County Circuit Court clerk

Serving a crushing blow to her opponent, state Sen. Iris Martinez won Tuesday’s Cook County Circuit Court clerk race to replace Dorothy Brown, becoming the first Latina to head the job-rich but obscure office.

Follow David Struett for the full story.

9:56 p.m. Freshman Underwood leading Republican challenger Oberweis in northwest suburban congressional race

As returns continued to trickle in, freshman U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood looked to be holding onto her job Tuesday night against Republican challenger Jim Oberweis.

In one of the many congressional races viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump — with whom state Sen. Oberweis campaigned as recently as Monday — Underwood held onto a slight lead for a second term representing far western suburbanites in the 14th District, though returns were still far from complete.

With about 27 percent of precincts reporting, Underwood led Oberweis, 51% to 49%. The congresswoman held strong leads in Will, Kane and DeKalb counties, while Oberweis was leading in Lake. Results from DuPage County were stalled.

It wasn’t clear how many mail-in ballots remained to be counted.

Reporters Lauren FitzPatrick and Adam Mahoney have the full story.

9:36 p.m. Up to 400,000 Illinois votes could still be in the mail as election night ends

In an unprecedented year for mail-in voting, election night ended with between 300,000 and 400,000 mail ballots yet to arrive to Illinois voting authorities.

That means many key races could still be waiting on anywhere from roughly 5% to 7% of the ballots cast, if turnout this election is similar to the state’s 2016 turnout of almost 5.7 million ballots cast. Mail ballots needed to postmarked on Tuesday but can be counted through Nov. 17.

An all-time high of 2.4 million Illinoisans requested mail ballots this year, and about 1.8 million of those were received for counting by Election Day.

At least 50,000 voters surrendered their mail ballots, so they could vote in person on Tuesday, according to estimates by the Illinois State Board of Elections, and that number could climb even higher.

As a result, as polls were closing Tuesday night, officials said their estimate of up to 400,000 outstanding mail ballots “could change significantly depending on the true number of mail ballots surrendered.”

Reporter Mitch Armentrout has the full story.

9:12 p.m. High-profile judges fight to keep their jobs in Tuesday’s retention election

In judicial retention elections, judges get to keep their robes if 60% or more of the voters say so — and that’s proved a remarkably easy threshold to hit, with few judges ever getting booted.

But with votes still being tallied from Tuesday’s election, it’s too early to say whether two veteran judges facing retention questions — Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride and Cook County Judge Michael Toomin — were able to hang on to their seats.

With more than 10% of precincts reporting, Toomin had about 61% favorable votes.

For Kilbride, with about 41% of precincts reporting, 57% of voters favored his retention, according to preliminary results.

Reporter Robert Herguth has the full story.

8:39 p.m. Iris Martinez in early lead to become first Latina Circuit Court of Cook County clerk

State Sen. Iris Martinez Tuesday held an early lead in the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk race to replace Dorothy Brown, as she seeks to become the first Latina to lead the job-rich but obscure office.

With 11% of precincts reporting as of 8 p.m., Martinez was leading with 83% of the votes against Republican Barbara Bellar, a Burr Ridge physician and lawyer. There was also an unknown amount of uncounted mail-in ballots that could sway the race.

“Now that the current clerk has decided not to run, and it appears that we’ll win, I’m going to bring the changes this office needs and bring it out from under a dark cloud,” Martinez said in a phone interview before she was expected to address her face mask-wearing supporters at the Kanya Lounge, at 2525 N. Elston Ave.

If Martinez wins, it will mark the second time a woman of color will run the court clerk’s office, which has more than 1,400 employees and has earned a reputation for inefficiency, corruption and federal investigations under Brown’s tenure.

Reporter David Struett has the full story.

8:14 p.m. Black voters exiting polls on South, West sides say they want new president leading a nation reckoning with race

Communities of color flocked to the polls Tuesday, with optimism and hope for change for a nation reckoning with race. With their anger and frustration, they came.

And on the South and West sides, Black voters exiting polls expressed an overwhelming sentiment: They want a new president leading America in this post-George Floyd era.

“I’m hoping and praying Donald Trump loses, and that all the racist senators who have supported his policies lose along with him,” said Cellie French, 71, of Forest Park, who had voted a week ago but drove to the West Side Austin neighborhood Tuesday to ensure a millennial nephew would vote as well.

“We can’t leave this election to chance. Everyone has to be counted,” she said outside the 29th Ward’s 6th precinct at Michele Clark Magnet High School, 5101 W. Harrison St.

“I have seven brothers and sisters. We all voted already, then each one of us was assigned to get all the grandchildren to the polls. We need change in America.”

Reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika has the full report.

7:42 p.m. Sen. Dick Durbin wins reelection, according to the Associated Press

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the state’s most recognizable politician and the Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat, has fended off four long-shot candidates in a race that was never considered competitive to cruise to his fifth consecutive term in the seat.

On what was surely his most unusual election night in his four decades in Washington, Durbin held 57% of the vote as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday with incomplete returns reporting. The senator’s GOP opponent, former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, sat at 38.6% and Chicago businessman Willie Wilson drew 2%. Two other candidates won a combined less than 2% of votes.

Durbin has served as a prominent national voice against President Donald Trump, supporting the president’s impeachment last winter and airing campaign ads this fall that featured his opposition to Trump, largely ignoring his opponents in the race. Durbin also strongly opposed the rushed confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Read the full story from reporter Nader Issa.

6:51 p.m. ‘I honestly thought it was a gunshot’

A poll worker at the election site where a pipe burst Tuesday said the loud sound was jarring.

“It was really quiet before it happened and I honestly thought it was a gunshot given how tensions are so high,” the poll worker said. “Luckily there were no voters in the polling area, just volunteers. We all then ran out as soon as possible.”

While the poll worker said it appeared some ballots might have been damaged, officials said it is unlikely any were spoiled. Any paper ballots would have been fed into a scanner as soon as they were cast, but either way all records from inside would be preserved. The newest scanners “capture the image of each ballot as it’s being cast by the voter, which allows us to compare that to the paper ballots in the event any water reached the ballots and either caused them to warp or affected the voter’s marks,” election board spokesman Jim Allen said in an email.

Read the full story here.

6:43 p.m. Lightfoot confronted over decision to endorse Toomin

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended her decision to back Judge Michael Toomin Tuesday in an encounter with a woman that was caught on video.

In a nearly 40-second video clip posted to Twitter, Mary Difino, a school social worker at Chicago Public Schools and an active CTU member, can be heard asking Lightfoot, “Mayor, Judge Toomin locked up 11-year-olds — why did you endorse Judge Toomin?”

“He locks up 11-year-olds,” Difino says.

Lightfoot pauses to listen before beginning to walk toward Difino and responding that she’s “happy to endorse Judge Toomin because he’s a good judge.”

Difino then says Toomin “advocated” to lock up young children and Lightfoot wags her finger, telling her “you’re wrong about that.”

“You got your facts wrong,” Lightfoot says multiple times, continuing to walk toward the woman as security guards begin to come forward and step between them. “Your teachers union is wrong about that.”

The woman says “the Democratic Party also did not endorse him” as Lightfoot walks away from her.

A spokeswoman for Toomin said Lightfoot is “100% correct. She knows the facts.”

The county’s Democratic Party opted to not endorse Toomin, who serves as the presiding judge of the county’s juvenile justice division, over what they call his “imperial” temperament and “outdated approach” to juvenile justice.

Lightfoot was among those who questioned the party’s move, saying “the optics of this are terrible” because Toomin appointed a special prosecutor to investigate State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case.

“The campaign against Judge Toomin has been filled with complete lies and misinformation,” Hanah Jubeh, a spokeswoman for Toomin said in a statement. “This goes beyond retaliation. The fact of the matter is that Judge Toomin, in his 40 years of distinguished service has instituted a number of reforms.”

Jubeh went on to say the incident Difino talks about in her video was handled by two other judges and “this is nothing more than a smear campaign by the Cook County Democratic Party who seek to control the judiciary by whatever means necessary including spearheading the effort to disseminate false information.”

— Rachel Hinton

5:39 p.m. Chicago Board of Elections rushes to ‘safeguard’ ballots after sprinkler goes off in polling place

A sprinkler system went off inside a West Town polling place Tuesday afternoon, flooding voting machines and equipment and forcing officials to close down the site.

The Chicago Board of Elections announced that the polling place at James Otis Elementary, 525 N. Armour St., was flooded about 3:45 p.m., and directed voters in the 37th precinct of the 1st Ward to vote at the Goldblatt’s Building, 1615 W. Chicago Ave.

A video posted to social media showed the sprinkler system raining water all over a room inside the school as alarms blared.

A poll worker who asked not to be named said a pipe appeared to burst, sending hot steam into the polling place, which triggered the sprinkler system.

“It was really quiet before it happened and I honestly thought it was a gunshot given how tensions are so high,” the poll worker said. “Luckily there were no voters in the polling area, just volunteers. We all then ran out as soon as possible.”

While the poll worker said it appeared some ballots might have been damaged, officials said it is unlikely any were spoiled. Any paper ballots would have been fed into a scanner as soon as they were cast, but either way all records from inside would be preserved.

“We’ll make every effort to make sure that we secure and recover every single ballot,” board spokesman Jim Allen said at a news conference. “We don’t think there were damaged voted ballots.”

Allen said “even if some water did get into the scanner, it might be the top few of those ballots in the ballot box.”

He said officials would gather the records using “tamper evident seals to seal up all those ballots and get them out of there and make sure we preserve all the records from the polling place.”

What’s more, there is an added safeguard. The newest scanners “capture the image of each ballot as it’s being cast by the voter, which allows us to compare that to the paper ballots in the event any water reached the ballots and either caused them to warp or affected the voter’s marks,” Allen said in an email.

— Sam Kelly, Michael Lee and Manny Ramos

3:49 p.m. Reluctant Trump voter: ‘I wanted to give him another try’

Nancy Diaz, 33, has lived in Peotone, a town about 40 miles south of Chicago, for six months.

She doesn’t like the way President Donald Trump talks about Latinos and disagrees with his administration’s policy of family separation for migrants who illegally enter the country. In 2016, she voted for Hillary Clinton.

But on Tuesday, the former Hillside resident cast her vote for Trump at Peotone’s Village Hall.

“He doesn’t like most Latino people,” Diaz said. “But I wanted to give him another try. We can see what he’s done the last four years.”

For Diaz, the economy was president’s No. 1 accomplishment and the reason she voted for him this time. She hopes he will get legislation passed that will give more undocumented immigrants legal status in the country.

Surrounded by farmland and subdivisions, voters in the Peotone area Tuesday largely said they were enthusiastically hoping to give the president another four years in office.

Marty Williams, a middle-aged resident of Manteno, was a Democratic voter for years. As a longtime union worker for Caterpillar, he said that was a given.

Ethel and Marty Williams with friends outside Manteno Middle School after voting Tuesday.

Ethel and Marty Williams with friends outside Manteno Middle School after voting Tuesday.

Matthew Hendrickson/Sun-Times

Williams said he’s sick of seeing jobs like his shipped to other countries — a problem he said Trump was fixing.

“What drew me to him is he’s a businessman,” Williams said outside the polls at Manteno Middle School. “He’s turned the economy around.”

His wife, Ethel, 48, agreed. Trump “isn’t a politician, so he doesn’t have to do all the thing [other politicians] from the swamp have to do to get elected,” she said of her vote.

Dennis Woolum also voted for Democrats until the 1990s, but no politician had gotten him as excited to vote as Trump has. The 55-year-old Manteno resident said after another four years of Trump in office, he’d like to vote for the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Woolum’s fiancee, Kimberly Ziesemer, 54, said she also voted for Trump this year — the first time she has voted for president in her life.

Kimberly Ziesemer and her fiancé, Dennis Woolum, voted at Manteno Middle School on Tuesday.

Kimberly Ziesemer and her fiancé, Dennis Woolum, voted at Manteno Middle School on Tuesday.

Matthew Hendrickson/Sun-Times

Ziesemer said she never felt she knew enough about the issues to vote, but since Trump was impeached, she’s closely followed news on her social media feed and on conservative websites.

Now, she said she knows Biden is “corrupt” and likely “behind a lot of violence” taking place in the country.

“[Trump’s] done a lot for African Americans; their unemployment is really low,” she said. “He’s stopped China from taking our jobs. Who cares if he’s a jerk.”

Bernie Richards, a Manteno resident who retired to the village after 34 years with the Chicago Police Department, said community members he talks to are drawn to the “openness and honesty of Trump.”

Many Trump voters said their views have caused divisions in their families, particularly among the younger generation. Now, they said they do their best to avoid political conversations with people who opposing views.

Many said they fear the election will have dire consequences for the future of the country if Trump loses.

— Matthew Hendrickson

3:21 p.m. ‘An uplifting vibe’ at United Center polling place

The mood was jubilant outside the United Center as volunteers handed out snacks, salads and bottled water to people standing in line to vote. Inspirational music played loudly to keep everyone motivated.

Fahem Adam, 30, waiting in line to vote at the United Center.

Fahem Adam, 30, waiting in line to vote at the United Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. | Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

The arena – home to the Bulls and the Blackhawks – served as a voting super site for the first time. The long line stretched from the South Atrium entrance past Gate 6.

“I have never been to [a polling place] where food is being handed out and music being played, but it is obviously uplifting the vibe,” 30-year-old Fahem Adam said. “It changes voting from a potential sad situation to like exercising what it is you need to do.”

“The music is like being at a family barbecue.”

Adam passed the time reading up on the judges on this year’s ballot.

The overall goal, he said, was making sure Trump doesn’t get a second term.

“I don’t think Trump is really paying attention to how the criminal justice system is affecting us,” Adam said. “I think [Biden], being part of the Obama administration, I think he has an understanding and [will] continue Obama’s legacy with criminal justice reform.”

In the end, Adam said, this election is just like any other. He doesn’t see the outcome being some sort of existential threat to the country’s democracy.

“I think it is important to exercise your constitutional rights, honestly,” Adam said. “So many people are deprived of being able to cast a ballot and people have given their life up for us to vote. If you have the ability to vote and you’re not, then that’s just wrong.”

Patricia Sparkman, 57, was happy to be able to vote at the United Center. The South Sider said she “spends a lot of time out West,” so it was convenient.

“I’m just voting to get that guy Trump out of office,” Sparkman said. “That’s the only thing I’m here to do.”

— Manny Ramos

Live 2020 election results

2020 Election Live Results

For complete results in the 2020 U.S. election, including Illinois races like Cook County state’s attorney, the graduated income tax amendment, and the state legislature, head to the Sun-Times election tracker.

2:52 p.m. ‘I didn’t really care before, I care now’

Ariel Garcia has voted in elections before but never for president.

“I just don’t like our current president,” Garcia said. “I didn’t really care before, I care now.”

Garcia, 29, said he’s seen firsthand how President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric has affected those around him. He worries about the women in his family and the “rights that they have and the rights that might be taken away from them.”

Garcia didn’t care much about some of the other issues on the ballot, adding his main priority is “getting rid of the president.”

Garcia was one of several hundred people who voted in the somewhat packed Ceviche Peruvian Seafood & Steakhouse, 2554 W. Diversey Ave., which is the site of the 19th and 5th precincts in the 33rd Ward in Avondale.

The venue was one of the more unusual polling places, with gold accent lighting and a gaudy chandelier.

“It’s one of the more classy places [to vote],” longtime poll worker Glenn Hickman said.

It was also one of the busier places the Sun-Times visited on the North Side, too. And with the coronavirus at the forefront of people’s minds, poll workers tried to sanitize each polling station and the folders between each use, though it was hard to enforce social distancing.

Hickman, who’s been a poll worker for four presidential elections, said the steady traffic is normal for the 19th precinct.

“It’s about average,” said Hickman, 76. “We didn’t have about as many mail-in or early voters in the last elections, but presidential is usually twice the turnout as there are in the midterms, so this seems about average.”

— Madeline Kenney

2:43 p.m. ‘It’s not about Black and white or Asian or Hispanic. It’s about coming together as one’

Voters casting ballots at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave., regularly told poll workers: “Thank you for you service.”

It made them feel good and proud.

“It’s like we’re vets or something,” said one 75-year-old poll worker. She didn’t want to be named out of concern family members would scold her for working the polls during the pandemic.

“It makes you feel appreciated. Like you’re doing your civic duty,” election coordinator Tatia Gore said.


Election coordinator Tatia Gore at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Cynthia Robinson, 50, a phlebotomist from West Pullman, cast her ballot and said she hopes whoever wins the presidency will unite the country.

“It’s not about Black and white or Asian or Hispanic. It’s about coming together as one,” she said.

— Mitch Dudek

2:08 p.m. Vietnam vet says Trump ‘treated the world like it was a business,’ wishes he could vote for Obama instead of Biden

The polling place at the South Shore Library was set up in a cramped conference room on the second floor where temperatures soared because the windows could not be opened.

A single box fan provided a small amount of relief.

Ivan Burnett, 64, who owns a pest control service and served in Vietnam with the Army, withstood the heat to cast a vote for Joe Biden, but wishes former President Barack Obama could have four more years.

“I’m ex-military, I put my trust in the person who’s going to tell the truth and look out for the best interest of everybody. I don’t think Trump looked out for the best interest of everybody, he looked out for himself. He’s a businessman, not a politician, so he never should have been in that seat because he treated the world like it was a business,” Burnett said.


Ivan Burnett, 64, who owns a pest control service and served in Vietnam with the Army, voted at the South Shore Library on Tuesday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Bernadine Randle, a retired Metropolitan Water Reclamation District worker who lives in South Shore, said after casting her ballot that she hoped election mania would come to an end.

“What’s on my mind? ... That this election will finally be over, and I won’t have to see any more of these commercials,” she said.

She’s got zero anxiety over who will win the presidency. “As far as I’m concerned, God is in control.”

She did have anxiety over overheating poll workers: “They’re burning up,” she said.

— Mitch Dudek

1:51 p.m. ‘Probably the most important vote we have for president in a generation’

The seismic implications of this election are not lost on Mihir Karia.

“This is probably the most important vote we have for president in a generation,” Karia, 44, said Tuesday. “There’s just very divisive politics and just a lot of the outcome of this is very consequential as to how we move forward as a country.”

Mihir Karia, 44, votes as his son Tovin, 6, watches at the Jonathan Burr Elementary School in the Bucktown neighborhood on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.

Mihir Karia, 44, votes as his son Tovin, 6, watches at the Jonathan Burr Elementary School in the Bucktown neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Karia and his wife, Roxanne Karia, brought their 6-year-old son Tovin and 4-year-old daughter Rosabela with them to vote at Burr Elementary School in Wicker Park. Karia wanted to set an example for his two children in the first election they’ll likely remember.

“It’s been a really good experience,” Karia said. “They’ve had some good interaction with us, they watched us cast our ballots, I wanted to introduce them, so over the years they’ll get more and more involved.”

Before arriving at the polls, Karia said he had a good discussion with his son about the importance of voting. His son then asked if, one day, he could be president.

“I told him that if you can be kind, and just, and fair, lead this country and be strong and protect everybody, then you should be president,” Karia said.

— Madeline Kenney

1:29 p.m. Key issues according to voters: criminal justice, COVID-19

Ernest Henton, 51, walked into Edward Duke Ellington Elementary School at 243 N. Parkside Ave. with criminal justice reform on his mind.

“I’m an African American man who lives in an African American community and every single day I see family and friends who have been wronged by the justice system,” Henton said.


Ernest Henton, 51, a life-long conservative, said he voted for President Trump on the basis of criminal justice issues after casting his ballot at Edward Duke Ellington Elementary School on Nov. 3, 2020.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Henton, who lives in Austin, said he thinks only one candidate can bring “true criminal justice change.”

“I voted for Donald J. Trump,” Henton said. “His platform, his voting record, the fact that he acknowledged the capitol of Israel is Jerusalem and his stance on life. All of those things together with what I think he will do for the African American community is the reason why I voted for him.”

The life-long conservative said he also voted “no” on the fair tax because he doesn’t believe putting the burden on millionaires will solve the state’s budget woes.

“[Millionaires] will still find loopholes to avoid paying higher rates in taxes and for me who aspires to one day have that money, I don’t want to go that route, so I voted no,” Henton said.


Andrea Alexander, 33, a registered nurse at Rush Oak Park Hospital, ran to the polls to vote before she went to sleep between night shifts.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Andrea Alexander, 33, a registered nurse at Rush Oak Park Hospital ran into the polls to vote before she went to sleep before her night shift. Her primary issue was COVID-19.

“I hope a Biden-Harris administration will do a better job with the virus,” Alexander said. “We need some relief and support that is going to help us as we fight this.”

Manny Ramos

12:25 p.m. ‘It’s time the middle class and working class gets a break’: Why one voter backed graduated income tax

The line kept moving Tuesday morning at Sayre Language Academy, 1850 N. Newland Ave., as poll workers routinely sanitized voting booths.

Brian Austin, 47, wasn’t going to let a pandemic muffle his voice in this election. He wore latex gloves for added protection.

“I figured the line wasn’t going to be that long because of all the early voting ballots that have been cast already,” Austin said. “But I also never been a fan of early voting because I just feel like my vote will for sure be counted when I’m in person, so I was going to be here no matter what.”

For Austin, the most important thing on the ballot this year after the presidential race was the graduated income tax amendment that would change the state’s current single-rate income tax system.

“I definitely voted for the ‘Fair Tax’ because how many times do you hear about these billionaires and millionaires skating away from their taxes?” Austin said. “It’s time the middle class and working class gets a break and the rich begin paying their fair share.”

Ebony Treadwell, who also voted at Sayre, said she has voted in every election she’s been legally able to, except one. Treadwell, 27, missed the 2016 election because she was giving birth.

“I only missed one because I was giving birth to my daughter and it happened to be the one that gave us Donald Trump,” Treadwell said. “I say the only reason he got elected was because I didn’t get to vote.”

Treadwell voted happily for Joe Biden but held some reservations.

“I feel like we are screwed either way but at least we will be less screwed with Biden in office,” Treadwell said.

— Manny Ramos

12:04 p.m. Couple on opposite ends of political spectrum: ‘We just ... agree to disagree’

At a time when politics have never been more divisive, Dan Anderson and Jennifer Kosharsky are learning to make it work.

Anderson and Kosharsky, who are engaged, are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Anderson voted for President Donald Trump on Tuesday, while Kosharsky voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Kosharsky voted in favor of the proposed fair tax amendment, while Anderson voted no.

Anderson, 51, believes Trump’s first term as president has gone well. He pointed to the country’s economy as one example of why he believes that’s true, saying it’s “doing way better than it was before.”


Dan Anderson, 51, and Jennifer Kosharsky, 46, pose for a portrait after casting their ballots outside DePaul University’s Athletic Center.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

While Anderson blamed the Democrats for making the country “very divisive” over the past four years and voiced his support for Trump, Kosharsky, 46, stood beside him shaking her head in disagreement.

“It’s appalling,” Kosharsky said. “I don’t know how anyone can be a Trump supporter, he’s the worst president ever, he’s just a horrible person.”

Kosharsky said she’s not against voting Republican, however, “Trump was out of the question.”

Their political differences have been hard on their relationship. Politics has been a frequent conversation ahead of the election.

But overall, they said they have a wonderful relationship.

“We just … agree to disagree,” Anderson said.

— Madeline Kenney

11:54 a.m. One voter’s election night plans: ‘a specific bottle of wine’

A ballot and a bottle of wine. Those were the key parts of Tuesday’s formula for Iyana Simba, 23, of Hyde Park, a water policy director at an environmental nonprofit.

“I have a bottle of wine for election night, a specific bottle of wine, and I’m not going to check anything until like midnight,” she said.

The sauvignon blanc from New Zealand was bought last week. She said her plan was to open it Tuesday evening.

“Well, maybe this afternoon, maybe a little earlier, even,” she said after voting at a polling place set up at Kenwood Academy.


Iyana Simba, 23, of Hyde Park, a water policy director at an environmental nonprofit.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The environment is her top issue.

“I brought a book, I thought I was going to have to wait for two hours but there was no wait at all,” she said.

“We’re at a moment where we cannot afford to have a person who’s not going to put the environment first, that’s really why I’m out here today,” Simba said.

— Mitch Dudek

11:37 a.m. Pritzker says no reports of voter intimidation so far

Gov. J.B. Pritzker stopped by Shoesmith Elementary in Kenwood to thank election workers and said he’d heard of no reports of voter intimidation but was getting updates on the topic every few hours.

Pritzker said he’s hearing from election judges that voter turnout on Election Day has been lighter than in past elections.

“But I’ve also heard there have been an awful lot of young people getting out to vote today, so that’s really great to hear,” he said. “When I hear about that it means there’s a level of enthusiasm that’s probably off the charts.”


Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, and Lt Gov. Juliana Stratton walk in at Shoesmith Elementary School in 1330 E 50th in Kenwood, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Pritzker said he worked as an election judge several times in his 20s while living in Lincoln Park.

“It was great, it feels like you’re doing something important,” he said.

Pritzker noted election workers were checking temperatures at the door before squirting hand sanitizer into palms as folks entered the polling place at Shoesmith Elementary.

“They’re doing the right things, and I think it makes people feel like ‘this is safe,’” he said.

— Mitch Dudek

10:08 a.m. Precincts equipped with PPE and wipes, but some too crammed for social distancing

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in Chicago and Illinois, Chicago’s Board of Elections is doing what it can to try to keep people safe while they vote on Tuesday.

Each precinct received a box of personal protective equipment that included disposable gloves, K95 masks and face shields. They also were provided ample supplies of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.

Stickers encouraging people to social distance also lined the floors of most hallways and sidewalks leading up to the polling place. And the voting stations are more spread out than past years, though that wasn’t the case at every polling site.

Lance Aguilar, 31, a poll worker, helps Dalinda Finch, 63, vote at Stone Scholastic Academy in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, 2020.

Lance Aguilar, 31, a poll worker, helps Dalinda Finch, 63, vote at Stone Scholastic Academy in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on Tuesday morning,

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Four precincts in the 50th Ward — Nos. 13, 28, 31 and 32 — were packed into Stone Scholastic Academy’s gym, making it nearly impossible not to brush shoulders with a stranger.

Mohammed Mohammed, 41, who voted at the site, noted the close quarters.

“It’s OK, but the precautions could be much better, like wider spacing,” he said.

Christina Grace, an election coordinator in the 50th ward, believes workers at their site are doing the best they can, given the circumstances.

“I’m glad we’ve been provided with materials for safety, but with this polling place specifically, I wish it were less crammed,” she said.

Poll workers handle ballots vote at Stone Scholastic Academy in the West Rogers Park neighborhood, Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, 2020.

Poll workers handle ballots on Election Day at Stone Scholastic Academy in the West Rogers Park neighborhood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

— Madeline Kenney

9:14 a.m. Finding ‘a silver lining’: ‘More civic engagement, higher voter turnout’

Rhea Basa, an orchestra instructor at Jones College Prep, voted at 8 a.m. Monday morning at a grade school in Hyde Park.

“I’m very nervous about this election. ... I’m planning to exercise a lot to work off the excess energy I have,” said Basa, 59.

“If it doesn’t turn out the way I like it, life will go on and we’ll find other ways to get the things I think are important,” said Basa, who was “very depressed” when Trump was elected four years ago.


Rhea Basa, 59, an orchestra instructor at Jones College Prep who voted at 8 a.m. Monday morning at a grade school in Hyde Park.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

“But there might be a silver lining in all this — the fact that there’s much more civic engagement, higher voter turnout, people are paying more attention,” said Basa, who noted many of her students were serving as election judges this year.

As for the trickle of voters at her polling place Monday, Basa suspected late sleepers, ballots cast by mail and early voters were to blame.

“My husband always likes to come at the end of the day. He likes to feel like he’s casting the deciding vote,” she said with a laugh.

— Mitch Dudek

8:52 a.m. ‘No matter who you are voting for, just do it’

Jada Scott walked out of Stone Scholastic Academy in West Ridge with a smile under her mask after voting for the first time.

“It feels really good,” said Scott, 22. “At first, it was kind of nerve-wracking, like the stress and stuff of everybody pressuring you, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be really complicated, but it’s very simple.”


Jada Scott, 22, votes for the first time at Stone Scholastic Academy in West Rogers Park.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Scott didn’t cast a ballot in past elections because she felt like her vote didn’t truly matter. But this year, her grandmother, who accompanied her to the polls Tuesday, made her realize that’s not true.

Her message to other first-time voters?

“Definitely do your research, come early,” Scott said. “[And] for young people who think, ‘Oh, I don’t have to do it because other people are doing it,’ get up and vote because every vote definitely does count. And no matter who you are voting for, just do it.”

— Madeline Kenney

8:26 a.m. The voter who woke up at 4 a.m. for a long drive to her polling place

“The last four years — I just feel like as a country we can’t go through that again,” said Trisha Bishop, 34, who woke up at 4 a.m. to drive to Chicago from Champaign, where she was visiting family.

“I think if it would have went a way I didn’t want to go, at the end of the day I would have felt some guilt about that,” said Bishop, who drives for Uber and voted Tuesday morning in Bronzeville.

The only other election she voted in was Barack Obama’s first presidential election.

Voters trickled in every few minutes at the King Health Center polling place at 43rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

Racheal Teague, 31, a stay-at-home mom from Bronzeville, said she didn’t want to mail her ballot. “I wanted to make sure they got it.”

“It’s up to us, this is the world we’ll be living in — our city, our country — and we have to start making decisions about it and this is how I use my voice,” she said.

“It’s like the first day of school; I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been up early, you know, when you lay out your clothes,” Teague said.

“Some people want to deal with the devil they know versus the one they don’t know. Not me. I want a new devil, thanks,” she said of the presidential election.

— Mitch Dudek

7:17 a.m. Early-morning voter feels an ‘extreme amount of dread’

Bundled in a winter coat and a thick gray scarf, Jason Ahlstrom was prepared for long lines of people waiting to vote at Kilmer Elementary School in Rogers Park.

Instead, voting was a breeze, and he was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

“It turned out well,” he said.

Another voter, Toby Gastler, also was pleased with the ease of the voting process.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “I was third in line.”

Rogers Park was off to a slow start Tuesday morning after Chicago saw a record number of early votes and mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahlstrom didn’t intend to wait until Election Day to cast his ballot. Time sort of got away from him, he said. Still, Ahlstrom said it was important for him to hit the polls.


Jason Ahlstrom, 48, of Rogers Park, casts his vote early on Election Day at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School on Nov. 3, 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“I want my name to be associated with the popular vote,” the 48-year-old said. “Illinois is going to go blue, that’s great, but I want my number to be over there should the worst case happen today.”

Ahlstrom and Gastler said they had a lot of issues in mind while filling out their ballots — the top one being getting rid of President Donald Trump.

“Honestly, the most important thing to me is changing the president of the United States,” said Ahlstrom, who voted for Joe Biden. “I feel like, right now, we have a divisive leader that is only increasing the pain and the polarization that is going on throughout the entire country. I don’t know if anyone as a president can fix that but need to take a step in the right direction, and I think that’s getting rid of our current president.”

Gastler, who also voted for Biden, said he feels an “extreme amount of dread and anxiety about tonight.” He plans to watch the poll numbers come in, though he said it “might be a mistake.” He plans to go to bed without a definitive answer on who will serve as president for the next four years.


“[It’s going] to be messy and hell for the next few weeks,” said Gastler, 30.

Meanwhile, Ahlstrom doesn’t plan to pay close attention to poll numbers throughout the day. Instead, he might rewatch the first season of “Schitt’s Creek.”

— Madeline Kenney

6:02 a.m. Voting sites open across Chicago

Polling places open at 6 a.m. across Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times Voting Guide features candidate profiles for federal, state and county races, as well as the Sun-Times Editorial Board’s endorsements.

Find your polling place using the Chicago Board of Elections search tool.


Election judges at the polling place at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in Rogers Park as polls open on Nov. 3, 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

5:43 a.m. Millions of Illinoisans cast their votes before polls open

More than 3.6 million Illinoisans — or more than two out of five registered voters — have already cast their ballots for Tuesday’s election, but officials caution that some races —including the fate of the proposed graduated income tax amendment — “may not be known” for up to two weeks.

As of Monday, more than 1.83 million people voted early in-person, and another 1.76 million had already returned their ballots by mail, ahead of an election some are calling one of the most important in history, according to figures from the Illinois Board of Elections.

With more than 8.3 million voters registered for the 2020 general election — which is, in itself, a record — state election officials estimated that 43% of registered voters already voted.

The numbers are double those of the last presidential election.

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