Election 2020: Final lap and recap



As the election progresses, follow student and faculty reactions to voting, working the polls, election results and community discussions.

The Midway is tracking the presidential election with the reactions from community members over the 48 hours surrounding Election Day. As we get closer to knowing results, new reactions will be added below as updates.

To engage in democracy, students work polls

Posted at 3:39 p.m., Nov. 4

Some U-High students missed school on Nov. 3 to work as election judges in various polling stations throughout Chicago and Cook County.

In Illinois, election judges are responsible for setting up election equipment beginning at 5 a.m., ensuring the voting process is running fairly, and processing votes after the polls close at 7 p.m. 

Senior Olivia Poston wanted to help.

“I want to make sure that everyone votes and everyone can vote. I can’t vote so being a poll worker let me feel like I was doing something,” Olivia Poston, a U-High senior, said.

In Illinois, poll workers can be anyone over age 16, so working as an election judge allows 16-  and 17-year-olds to feel involved with the election process even if they can’t legally vote. 

Olivia aims to be politically active and tried phone banking for candidates she supported in the lead up to the election. Olivia explained that working as a poll worker is her way to be involved in the election despite her age. 

Senior Eliza Doss also volunteered as a poll worker and was comforted to see people coming into polling stations because she was worried that not enough people would vote.

“That’s something I was nervous about, and seeing people coming in made me more confident that people would actually vote,” Eliza said.

Aside from seeing the number of people that come to vote in person, election judges can see the amount of registered voters in the voting precinct.

“There weren’t a lot of people that came in because a lot of the people in the precinct I was working in had voted by mail,” Olivia said. “In the precinct I was working in, we had 667 registered voters and only about 70 of them came in to vote.”

Eliza mostly worked at the registration table in her precinct and noted that only a small present of voters were actually in person. 

Olivia also had only a small number of physical voters and observed that many of the  voters who came to her polling station had first attempted to vote by mail. 

“One common thing I saw was a lot of people who had applied for mail-in ballots but haven’t received them, so they had to come in to the voting center and fill out provisional ballots” Olivia said.

Provisional ballots are used by voters who had difficulty voting due to an administrative error. Provisional ballots are more detailed to affirm the voter’s qualifications to vote because errors in the voting process may cause a voter’s eligibility to be unconfirmed.

“There were some issues with COVID risks that made me paranoid and nervous while I was there,” Eliza said, adding that while most people were being safe, she did see some people not following safety precautions. 

However, Olivia felt very comfortable with the safety precautions in her precinct.

“I feel like everyone that came in was being very safe. It actually made me optimistic to see so many people responding correctly to all the health concerns,” Olivia said.

Eliza and Olivia both commented that the majority of the voters came earlier, so they had time to check on the news as the first polls closed in other states.

“Toward the end of the night, I kept checking a group chat with my friends so I could see the results as the first polls close,” Eliza said. “All the other volunteers were looking at their phones too. We all were really anticipating results.”

Eliza got home around 8:30 p.m. and continued to pay attention to the election. Olivia also turned on the news at home and watched as votes slowly came in. Between the 14 hours of work at the polling stations and watching the news after they got home, students who worked as election judges didn’t have much time for school work. Eliza missed four classes and has a lot of make-up classwork and homework to finish.

“I have a lot of work to catch up on now, but I don’t regret volunteering,” Eliza said. “I think it was a good way for me to get involved and not just keep refreshing the news every few seconds. I hope more people do it in future elections because I really do feel like it was a positive experience.”

— reported by Clare OConnor, Midway reporter


Down ballot results: Durbin reelected, Fair Tax looks to be failing

Posted at 2:25 p.m., Nov. 4

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, incumbent Democrat representing Illinois, has been re-elected to a fifth term in the Senate. He serves as the Democratic Whip, the second-highest Democrat in the Senate.

In the Chicago area, Democrat Marie Newman was elected to the 3rd District, while incumbent Democrats, Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, Danny Davis and Mike Quigley were re-elected to the U.S. Houses of Representatives.

The Illinois Fair Tax Amendment, which would amend the state constitution to allow graduated income tax, has failed to garner a three-fifths majority, with 52% of voters voting No.

In Illinois State Senate races, 10 Democrats have confirmed seats and 2 Republicans have won as well. In the Illinois State House, 52 Democrats have won seats and Republicans have picked up 17.

— reported by William Tan, Midway reporter


Reacting with concern, students and faculty monitor election results

Posted at 10:43 p.m., Nov. 3

As of 9 p.m. on election day, senior Aman Arain said he was wary of the accuracy of polling predictions, and as a result, was avoiding watching election coverage. 

“I know a lot of media companies have said they’ve corrected the polling mistakes that they made in 2016 and adjusted for it, and even if they’re not as wrong as they were, but I’m not really convinced by that,” Aman said. “Generally, I’m trying not to think about it too hard. I’ve just been focusing on homework.”

On the other hand, sophomore Charlotte Henderson was following election night coverage and was hopeful based on what she had seen on the news so far. 

“In some of my classes today we discussed aspects of the election and got a general sense of where we are all mentally at,” Charlotte said. “My feelings haven’t shifted majorly, but obviously seeing the polls gives me a better sense of the election rather than just our assumptions. So in that way, I’ve become more informed, but on the other hand that also makes me worry how things will end up.”

While she has found Election Day to be anxiety provoking, U.S. history teacher Cindy Jurisson is pleased that there seems to be less violence throughout the day than what was expected. 

“I’m really sad that this election has been so contentious and ugly — that deeply saddens me as a citizen and a history teacher because it’s not what a democratic system should be about,” Dr. Jurrison said. “However, I am happy that I haven’t heard a lot of reports of violence that were predicted, at this point at least. It seems like people were not harassed on their way to the polls, at least from what I’ve read.”

— reported by Anathea Carrigan, assistant editor


Both in person and by mail, seniors navigate first-time voting

Posted at 12:43 p.m., Nov. 3

Senior Katja Edwards, who voted by mail, had long anticipated voting for the first time but was especially enthusiastic about voting in this election. 

“I have been looking forward to voting since I knew voting was a thing,” Katja said, “and then especially with this election, having another vote against Trump was good. I felt very happy and excited.”

Despite not doing so in person, senior Eliza Doss, who voted early by mail, was excited to cast her ballot. “I feel like you get more of that excitement if you vote in person, but it was still exciting for someone who was just sitting at home filling out the ballot,” Eliza said. “It feels like you’re doing something even if you’re just filling out a piece of paper, and that’s always a good feeling.”

Senior Peyton Holleb voted in person Oct. 30 with her twin sister, Grace. After waiting in line at Lincoln Park High School for two hours, she regretted not sending in a mail-in ballot but remained excited to vote for the first time. 

“I went with my sister, who also hadn’t voted before,” Peyton said, “and so [the poll workers] were like, ‘Oh, we have two first-time voters!’ and everyone clapped for us, which was kind of fun.”

— reported by Caroline Hohner, assistant editor


Students approach election with apprehension, fear of violence

Posted at 6:52 p.m., Nov. 2

Regardless of who wins the election, Kara Tao, junior, expects chaos, and she fears that the situation from previous elections will reoccur.

 “I anticipate a lot of just craziness and honestly don’t know what to really expect, but I know that I won’t be prepared for it,”  Kara said. “I am afraid the thing that happened in 2016 — where Hilary [Clinton] won the popular vote but Trump actually won — will be a repeat this time as well.”

While senior Adi Badlani is excited for Tuesday, he is overall nervous since he is unsure which way the election will go and fears a repeat of 2016.

“I think that everything that has been going on for the past one and a half years has really built up to this moment,” Adi said. “I think that the success of our country depends on who becomes the next president in a way that we have never seen before, so we have to be nervous, wary and cautious regardless of how confident we are.”

Sophomore Kiran Chinniah believes that the results from the election will take longer than they have in the past, and when they do come out, she believes there will be a lot of protests.

“I think that because of how drastically different the two candidates are there will be a lot of protests because this is one of those elections where they are not similar in any way,” Kiran Chinniah said. “I am a woman, a woman of color and a daughter of an immigrant, so a lot of the issues on the table right now will have a great impact on my personal life.”

— reported by Adrianna Nehme, assistant editor

Freshman Zoe Nathwani is worried about the election results and their effects on the nation.

“I’m a little bit nervous. I know we’re not gonna be getting results until long after election day but I’m sort of nervous to see what happens,” Zoe said. “Regardless of which way the election goes, half the country’s gonna be angry at the other half. There’s gonna be a lot of fallout.”

Senior Graham Waterstraat is apprehensive about election results and the divisions they will likely cause.

“I’m more nervous than excited,” Graham said. “I don’t see – regardless of the result both on election night and the weeks following – a moment of unity. I feel that the next few weeks are going to be turbulent, to say the least, similar to what we saw back in June.”

Graham also states mail-in voters are more likely to vote for Biden than to vote for Trump, as shown in various polls. Since mail-in votes are counted more slowly than in-person votes, it may seem that Trump is winning at one point, and Graham is nervous about the president’s reaction.

“We have a president who has already cast doubt on the results of this election, who has threatened to use the courts to help decide the election for him, or to force recounts, or to prevent recounts in swing states,” Graham said. “It makes me worried that the incumbent Trump Administration could claim victory on election night, only for that result to be overturned by mail-in votes. And so then, of course, they can claim that the election was rigged all along.”

– reported by Amy Ren, Midway reporter