David Orr, Cook County Clerk, monitoring early voting at the Civic Center.RoundTable photo

The campaign fights are almost over in this virulent campaign cycle. The World Series was more than a diversion for many here, but as the days are counted off until Election Day, some citizens are wringing their hands, some gritting their teeth, and some just want it to be over.

Those who cannot or do not wish to wait until Nov. 8 to get this election behind them can cast a ballot or buy a cookie. Only one of these can be legally repeated. 

Early voting began on Oct. 24 at the Morton Civic Center. By Oct. 31, 6,366 votes had been cast there. Voting continues there from from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 3, 4, 5 and 7; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 6.

City Clerk Rodney Greene said nearly 1,200 people voted on Oct. 24, the first day of early voting. Clerk Greene and his staff keep track of “how many,” and, just a few blocks away, on Davis Street, Bennison’s Bakery is keeping track of “for whom?” 

 Maya Holm Drumgole keeps tabs on the sale of Election Cookies there. By Oct. 23, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had almost double the sales of her opponent Donald Trump. Votes will continue to be tallied right up to the election. Repeat “voters” are welcome, as the  “Vote Early, Vote Often” sign indicates.

Rarely, if ever, have both contestants in a presidential race in this country been so divergent and so disliked. One might consider Woody Allen’s take: “We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.”

Although that may be how some feel about the current election, sitting it out remains a poor choice. Many are familiar with George Jean Nathan’s caution: “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” Theodore Roosevelt put it, “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” The late David Foster Wallace also had a thought about that: “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”

And so did Abraham Lincoln: “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” 

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...