Evanston voters show up to the polls for reproductive rights, ranked-choice voting


Jonah Elkowitz/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston had 25 polling locations open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. this midterm election.

Shannon Tyler, Assistant City Editor

Evanston voters showed up across the city’s polling locations Tuesday to exercise their civic duty, hold political candidates accountable and decide the country’s future.

Voters said various Illinois issues drove them to the polls –– namely women’s reproductive rights at stake in Illinois Supreme Court elections, Evanston’s ranked-choice voting measure and the gubernatorial race. 

Jazmin Jones-Oliver, who is originally from Florida, voted in Evanston for the first time this midterm election. She said the most important thing for her was voting for future generations.

“That’s how I cast my vote — what life do I want for my children and grandchildren? That’s who is really going to be impacted by the things we vote on today,” Oliver said.

Evanston had early voting leading up to the election, lasting between Oct. 24 through Nov. 7 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. Today, 25 number polling locations were open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. including the Evanston Public Library, Noyes Cultural Center, Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center and Oakton Elementary School. 

Evanston is a historically Democrat stronghold, with 73% of Cook County voting for Democratic gubernatorial incumbent J.B. Pritzker this year. Resident Mary Dolan said that even though Illinois leans blue, she wanted to ensure women’s reproductive rights are protected this election. 

“Where we live the outcome is fairly likely, but given how the world has changed, I feel like I needed to make sure that Pritzker is our governor because I am worried about what will happen to reproductive health freedom,” she said. 

Ian Lukidis, an Evanston resident of 20 years, said he came to the polls because “it’s the right thing to do.”

Lukidis, who usually votes Democratic, said he is not always happy with the range of candidates and measures on the ballot. He was excited to vote for Evanston’s ranked-choice vote measure, though. 

“It is an objectively better way to determine what the general population wants. (Politicians) have to appeal to a broader part of the population, it holds people accountable better,” Lukidis said. 

Some voters expressed concern about the spread of misinformation and falsehoods by politicians and the media. 

Doug Paige, a resident of Evanston since 1978, said people have been polarized by rampant misinformation. 

“I wanted to exercise my right to vote,” Paige said. “I’ve been bothered by a lot of falsehoods and dishonesty on the part of way too many people in the media and politicians, so just for my conscience’s sake I wanted to put my two cents in.” 

He said in Evanston, he felt lucky he could vote without feeling intimidated –– and he worries others in the state and country may not have the same privilege. 

Lifetime resident Roy Conley said, like every election, this one is important. Though the future of abortion rights, climate change policy and other issues are more secure in Illinois, Conley said people should still participate in democracy. 

“Even though here in Illinois, here in Evanston, we don’t have a lot of issues a lot of voters face, we still have to participate … to put forward that vision of how we want to run our country,” Conley said. “Voting is how we change the country.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shannonmtyler

Related Stories: 

The Daily Northwestern’s live midterm coverage

Incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker projected to win gubernatorial race

Evanston becomes first city in Illinois to adopt ranked-choice voting