Unlike many people who voted in-person early, Michael Scognamiglio and Maria Demereckas did not have to stand in a long line before casting their ballots. In fact, there was no line at all.

“We were the only people voting,” said Demereckas after the couple left the polling place at Lake Street Church around 8:30 this morning. Six-foot separation due to Covid-19 was not a problem.

And a campaign volunteer who was handing out literature outside the church described the number of voters as “a steady trickle,” although he expected that number to pick up significantly during the lunch hour and in the late afternoon/early evening. The polls close at 7 p.m.

While Election Day turnout is off to a slow start here, the total number of voters locally and nationally should set records.

In Cook County, more than 409,000 people voted early in-person, including more than 11,000 in Evanston. In addition, the Cook County Clerk’s Office says it had received more than 387,000 mail-in ballots as of Sunday.

The coronavirus pandemic is the reason so many people opted for early in-person or mail-in voting. Mail-in ballots are still counted in Illinois if they are postmarked today, and received within two weeks by election officials.

There is no doubt that Joe Biden will take the vast majority of votes for president in deep blue Evanston. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton received 88%, Donald Trump 7%, and Gary Johnson and Jill Stein divided the rest.

Foxx and O’Brien signs outside an Evanston polling place.
Foxx and O’Brien signs outside an Evanston polling place.

Other key races to watch, where there is a lot less certainty, include the Cook County State’s Attorney contest between Democrat Kim Foxx and Republican Pat O’Brien, and the so-called “fair tax” amendment, which would replace Illinois’ flat rate income tax with a graduated scale where high-income earners would pay a greater percentage.

As for this morning’s voters, Scognamiglio said he prefers the “classic way,” in-person on Election Day. And Demereckas said she also “prefers doing her civic duty traditionally.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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