Busy early voting period preceded Election Day in Park Ridge
Park Ridge residents Don Walsh and Jeff Getz, with his 11-year-old daughter, Lily, vote Tuesday at Park Ridge City Hall. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2012 8:02PM
PARK RIDGE — In comparison to the bustling days of early voting, the steady, but relatively quiet stream of voters showing up at Park Ridge City Hall on Election Day today is, for Park Ridge Deputy City Clerk Cheryl Peterson, a noticeable change.
“These past two weeks have been so hectic and then, all of a sudden, ‘Shhhh,’” Peterson said.
Despite being shortened by one week, Park Ridge saw more early voters this year than during the 2008 presidential race, Peterson said.
The city recorded 5,378 early voters compared to 4,792 during the last presidential election. Park Ridge City Hall became an early voting spot in 2006 and since then other surrounding municipalities, like Niles, have begun offering pre-election day voting as well.
The day that generated the greatest number of early voters was Nov. 3, the final day, when 708 people turned out at City Hall.
Having voting occur within City Hall’s Council Chambers provided more space and helped to keep things running smoothly, Peterson said.
“We had a lot more machines and we were able to serve the people more efficiently,” she added.
City of Park Ridge employee Jim Lange, of Niles, took advantage of early voting to cast his vote for Republican Mitt Romney.
“I don’t like the way the country’s going right now and I don’t think (President Barack Obama) is the answer,” Lange said.
He would also like to see some new blood in other government offices as well.
“Anybody basically who has been in office I voted out,” Lange acknowledged.
Not everyone, of course, chose to cast their votes prior to Nov. 6. Mike Alexander was at City Hall this afternoon to do what, as a veteran, he believes is his important civic duty. For Alexander, the biggest problem facing the government today is those who serve in Congress.
“What bothers me more than anything else is the stalemate. They just can’t seem to get anything done,” Alexander said. “You wonder why you send them to Congress. They don’t do anything.”
Like many others who exercised their voting rights, Betsy Rapp cited the presidential race as the one that brought her out to vote.
“It’s the most important because of the closeness of the race,” said Rapp, opting not to share which candidate she prefers. “I think we’re at a really pivotal time in our country right now where we could easily fall either way and I kind of want it to go one way.”
“I always come out and vote, even if it’s a low race. But I’d like to see President Obama win,” said Judy Bacon.
Craig Iorio also cast his vote for Obama.
“I want Obama to continue his work,” he said. “I think he’s doing a good job considering the lack of support in Congress.”