What drove voters to the polls in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff
The Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest was a busy polling place with multiple precincts voting there Tuesday. Arne Hjelmeseth (left) gives first-time voter Tom Phelps a high five. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2012 6:27PM
Voter turnout was strong in Lake County with many precincts seeing as many as 80 percent of their registered voters casting ballots on Election Day.
What motivated the throngs to come out and vote? We spoke with voters at the polls to find out.
At Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, Philip Davis, 87, said he was a regular voter who dutifully participated in elections year in and year out.
Though he initially said there was no particular issue that made him go to the polls this year, Davis eventually cited taxes and Medicare. “I think that a voucher program for Medicare would be a financial disaster,” Davis said.
On the other end of the age spectrum was 19-year-old Kayla Huber, a first-time voter. Huber attends Lake Forest College where she is majoring in neuroscience, psychology and women and gender studies.
Huber said she was compelled to vote because of many issues that are signifcant to her. She specifically cited women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality and the economy.
As for the local contests, Huber didn’t follow those races closely. Her vote was determined by her Democratic Party affiliation, she said.
Someone who was not fond of either the Democrats or the Republicans was 24-year-old Doug Kaplan. He strongly felt that neither President Barack Obama nor Presidential candidate Mitt Romney were deserving of his vote — and he also had harsh words for the role the press plays in the electoral process.
“I think the media has perverted our political system,” he said.
Still, Kaplan said he felt voting was an important duty. “If I didn’t vote, I think Benjamin Franklin would roll over in his grave,” he added.
Lake Bluff resident Kim Rodriguez, 45, was similarly committed to the electoral process.
“People have gone to war to preserve these freedoms for us,” she said. “I know that sounds cheesy, but I think that makes voting very important.”
Rodriguez’ primary concern was the state’s grave financial condition. Rodriguez admitted she hasn’t always paid attention to local races, but said she was more informed now.
“Our taxes were raised and the [state fiscal] situation isn’t looking much better,” she said. With two children, ages 13 and 10, in the public schools, Rodriguez added that she worries about schools being properly funded by the state. Though she said the schools her children attend haven’t yet felt the pain of cutbacks, Rodriuez said she worries about other school districts that are not as well-off financially.