Chicago early voters, some elderly, brave long lines, chilly weather during election 2020

Evelyn Holmes Image
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago early voters, some elderly, brave long lines, chilly weather during election 2020
Chicago's early voters, some elderly, are braving long waits and chilly weather to make their voices heard.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Long lines at the polls this year are causing problems for senior citizens.

Some have had to wait hours to cast their early voting ballots.

Maurice Williams, 82, chose to vote early in-person, despite the risk the coronavirus pandemic poses to her as a senior and the discomfort she feels after waiting over an hour to cast her ballot.

"I have back problems, but I'm not going to let that stop me," Williams said.

The octogenarian is among the hundreds of seniors willing to stand outside in the cold, without a place to sit or use of a bathroom in order to exercise their right to vote.

RELATED: Long wait times, technical issues reported as early voting sites open in all wards across Chicago

There's no age breakdown, but according to the Chicago Board of Elections, on Wednesday, the first day of city-wide in person early voting, there were 17,289 ballots cast. Compare that to 2016, when a record setting 17,606 ballots were cast during the first day of city-wide in-person early voting for that general election.

Because of knee problems, 80-year-old Beverly Burnett shifted her weight from side-to-side while holding a spot in line for herself and her husband who sat in the car because he has cancer.

"This means a lot to me, and I figure I'm not here just for me. I'm here for them, you, it's got to mean something," Burnett said.

For a second day, in-person early voters were met with long lines and some delays possibly caused by technical and staffing problems.

"We were here at a quarter after 8, and the internet was down and came back," voter Randall Smith said.

RELATED: Illinois Election 2020: Meet the Candidates

Dietta Smith agreed it was worth it to come out and wait.

"This is an important time for all of us, so none of us want to miss this," Smith said.

Neighborhood residents said the site at Burnham Elementary School at 99th Street and Crandon Avenue opened late after an internet failure.

Like many, Francesca Horne requested a mail-in ballot, but is now afraid her vote won't be delivered or counted.

"This is the first time, and I didn't trust the system. Is that okay? Absolutely," Horne said.

So many chose to wait.

"It's not just a matter between Democrat and Republican; now it's a matter of right and wrong," Scottie Thomas said.