Voters hit the polls in Glencoe to weigh in on a hotly contested New Trier Board of Education race Tuesday, but at least some of them were led astray as they tried to find their polling locations.
In early March, notification cards were sent to voters that directed them to the , but those voters were notified by mail about two weeks later that their polling place had been changed to the , said Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for the Cook County Clerk's Office. The Takiff Center was not one of Glencoe's three designated polling places Tuesday.
Some voters didn't receive the message.
“A woman took a Pace bus up there and got left off with nowhere to go,” said Bill De Gryse, an election judge at the Watts Center. “She had to take a cab to come down here.”
He added that there was no way to know how many voters grew frustrated to be led to the wrong location and gave up for lack of time. Greve said no one reported the issue to the Cook County Clerk's Office before Tuesday.
Despite the errant cards, turnout at the Watts Center was 20 percent, the highest of any of the three polling locations surveyed on Tuesday. One precinct at Central School had only a 7 percent turnout, while precincts at Am Shalom ran about 10 percent, election judges said.
Alan Minoff, an election judge at Am Shalom, said he witnessed an 80 percent turnout at the November election, which featured close races for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Turnout this year for the local boards was still better than April 2009.
“Two years ago, there were no contested races,” Minoff said. “After the first votes came in, we could have closed shop.”
Turnout may have been low this year, but voters who did come out expressed acrimony with the incumbent trustees.
“I was disgusted by the overly ambitious plans put forward by the superintendent and the previous [school] board,” said Harvey Sheldon, a 1960 New Trier graduate who said the school was much larger when he attended. “These people don't have a grasp on reality, either economically or on education.”
His sentiments were echoed by Reynold and Mabel Tong, who said they supported the independent slate of candidates for the school board.
“The previous group just showed it is not in touch with the community,” Reynold Tong said. “Taxes have gone up far more than the rate of inflation.”
The Glencoe Board of Trustees had no contested seats this year, but that board didn't escape voter frustration, either.
“I voted against the Glencoe caucus slate,” said the man, who identified only his two terriers, Tootsie and Sampson. “I didn't want them to think they had my vote.”
He said he wrote in the names of Mickey Mouse, Captain Kangaroo and Larry Flynt.