2020 Presidential Election

Peter Medlin

DeKalb County -- like many counties across the country -- shattered early voting and vote-by-mail records. But that doesn’t mean the polls have slowed down on Election Day, amid COVID-19 safety measures.

Election judges at some precincts said that by noon they were closing in on full-day totals from the 2016 election.

“This is actually one of my first times voting,” said LeShawn Jackson. He was a part of protests in DeKalb this summer.

The movement for racial justice and police reform was a major reason he needed to cast his ballot. 

DePaul University

This week, an election-focused episode with Dr. Christina Rivers, associate professor of political science at DePaul University. She studies voting rights, African American politics and she’s taught several inside-out classes at the Stateville Correctional Center with students on the inside and DePaul students.

Peter Medlin

Over the summer, the school year was still in limbo and racial tensions were running high in Rockford as well as communities across the country. A former student reached out to Amanda Becker with a simple question: “Mrs. Becker, how are you going to teach about this?”

Becker is a history teacher at Auburn High School and a Rockford historian. Her answer was a philosophy she learned from her own teaching mentors.

“The best thing to do is to let the kids talk. That's it. Don't teach them anything. Let the kids talk,” she said.

Peter Medlin

Kendall County residents marched, signs in tow, to show support for women’s rights and honor the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Before the march, the socially distant crowd leaned in to hear from Rep. Lauren Underwood. She was elected to Congress in 2018, flipping a longtime Republican seat and riding a “Blue Wave” of Democrat enthusiasm.  

March participants talked about channeling that enthusiasm not only to help elect Joe Biden but advocate for women’s reproductive rights and other causes. 

Peter Medlin

With weeks until election day, Illinois is breaking early voting records. Residents are voting in person, by mail and delivering ballots to drop boxes.

Americans are crafting voting plans on how they want to cast their ballot during a pandemic.

Alex Boutros is the community organizing manager at Chicago Votes. They’re reminding voters that even if you requested a vote-by-mail ballot, you can still change your mind and vote in person.

Susan Stephens

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote by mail in Illinois.

Most people in county jails haven’t been convicted of a crime. And those people awaiting trial are still eligible to vote. If you're a registered voter, you may still request a mail-in ballot while you're detained before the election. 

2020 is the first year where county jails in Illinois are mandated to have a vote-by-mail system in place for those people. 

Joyce Klein is the chief of corrections in DeKalb County.

Peter Medlin

Coronavirus concerns cast a shadow over the primaries on election day in Illinois. Ohio canceled their polling locations.

Election judges in DeKalb and Aurora were both pleasantly surprised with the turnout.

In Chicago, midday voter totals were around half of what they were during the 2016 primary.

Jacob Chan is an NIU student voting in DeKalb. He said he saw the difference at his polling location.

"I was gonna come out because it's important, but the biggest impact is that it's empty," said Chan.

Super Tuesday 2020: Live Results And Analysis

Mar 3, 2020

Follow NPR's live coverage of the 2020 Super Tuesday contests:

 

 

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With less than a month until Illinois’ primary election, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in a new poll of Illinois voters. But the field is still quite divided.

Peter Medlin

Early voting is open in Illinois. But five minutes before it opened on February 6, election integrity actually just sounds like a long receipt being printed out by a voting machine. That’s because it is. It has every race, every candidate, every party. 

And since voting starts less than five minutes from this moment...it all reads zero. 

“All of the numbers have to match every day,” said Jessica Rugerio, a deputy clerk in DeKalb County.

They compare the numbers to the paper ballots, no app required.