Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
Election night came and went in my household. Like in 2020, my farmer and I voted by mail. Together we sat on the couch researching candidates and filling in circles. It was enjoyable. And a little strange.
My farmer will tell you that each election I remind him that he can’t complain about the election outcome. Politics. Policy decisions. Or elected officials without voting.
According to early numbers, over 97,000 Cook County voters requested a mail-in ballot. Of the ballets requested, over 66 percent were returned. Cook County early voters, like my farmer and me, most likely filled out their ballots on the couch. At the kitchen table. Or at their desk during their workday. Shh don’t tell their bosses.
My mom loves voting on Election Day. Like her nieces, she reports what number voter she was at the precinct. What time she was in. Who was in line. Who she met in the parking lot. And for several years she even brought donuts for the election judges. It wouldn’t surprise me if she volunteers to be an election judge after she retires in January.
My aunt jokes that she has to vote to cancel out my mom’s vote. I’m not sure anymore if they really do cancel each other out or if the joke has been going on long enough now that they’re attached to it. Neither of them is a straight party ticket voter. Like the children they raised, they vote based on the person not on the letter behind a candidate’s name.
Prior to the election, I spent the fall traversing the county presenting State Senators and Representatives with tractors. Well, actually a replica of a Case IH Magnum 380 tractor with duals. And navigating the county delivering an image of a farmers’ market printed on metal to Cook County Commissioners. Both the tractors and farmers market prints were presented in recognition of individuals’ voting record on agricultural and small business issues. Those receiving an award had a voting record percentage of over 75 percent or higher on key issues.
Throughout the fall and over 2,000 miles later I visited many Chicago neighborhoods. Edgewater. Lakeview. Little Village. West Lawn. Mayfair. And suburban Cook County. Lemont. Arlington Heights. Glenview. Schaumburg. Northfield. Dolton.
Offices and office mates included pets, interns, fellow elected officials, young children, volunteers, and constituents completing any number of forms.
While I came home with a litany of swag and snacks, my favorite was the deli sandwich with spicy cheese made by Representative Eva-Dina Delgado’s staff.
As Illinois election season wraps to a close. In less than two years we’ll press ‘repeat’ and start this crazy experiment we call democracy all over again. It’s my hope that politics will become less polarizing and that votes will be cast for those candidates pledging bi-partisanship and a willingness to work with their colleagues.