I feel like I should have done more to document election day 2012 in Chicago--I certainly did for 2008 (think I even posted that here, but I'm bad about looking up old posts)--but I was a little lazy since it was about 40 degrees and drizzly out. Not too lazy to return books that were due today (Election Day was a convenient way to remember) at two different Chicago Public Library branches, so I headed out by bike. (Yes, you can return books to any branch, not just the one you checked them out at, but I worry they'll take days or weeks to get delivered back to the proper branch. If it's a new and/or hard-to-find book, I'll try hard to bring it back where I got it.)
I went by the newer (and awkwardly named) Daley, Richard M.--W. Humboldt branch on Kedzie, then over to the Manning branch on Hoyne near the United Center. (I'd say the "eerily quiet" United Center, but that only applies in a Blackhawks lockout context. It was actually a few hours before a Magic-Bulls game.) Rewarded myself for my civic duty by finally visiting the new Dunkin Donuts east of the UC, finishing a small latte (99 cent special) on my ride home. This is the only real Election Day photo I have, a polling place on Damen:
I got home just as it was getting dark, put away my bike, and walked one block to my polling place, two hours before it closed. I'd seen reports of long lines, especially during early voting (one, two, more hour waits), but this entire process took 20 minutes. Including the walk. The man waiting before me had been switched from the 29th to 26th precinct--a significant percentage of voters had precincts switched this year--and was given an address about a mile away and a friendly admonition to actually make it there to vote. I'd read the Bottom of the Ballot series at Gapers Block and taken a few notes, and it helped me as I filled out my paper ballot. (I chose this over touchscreen.) How exciting to actually feel informed about the Water Reclamation District candidates! I still felt too intimidated to do anything about voting for judges to be retained or not--I only had a few names to vote against, so I left it all blank.
Not until I'd left did I realize that easily 99% of the negative political ads on TV I've had to endure (because I have the TV on a lot, and my mute button isn't working) for weeks and weeks were for candidates in races I didn't even get to vote on (Dold/Schneider, Walsh/Duckworth, Foster/Biggert). Ugh. I also felt like I'd just been to that polling place "a few months ago" for the mayoral and other local races...of course, that was a year and a half ago.