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Need to vote overcomes fear of coronavirus

The turnout wasn’t great, but voters made it to the polls Tuesday in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden won the Democratic Party’s state presidential primary race. Unofficial results show Lori Wilcox ahead in Cook County vote for the 40th District state senate seat, but media reports suggest incumbent Patrick Joyce may be ahead districtwide. 

Voters in Homewood and Flossmoor went to the polls on Tuesday, March 17, to pick candidates in Illinois’ primary election.

Illinois has more than 1.5 million registered voters. Approximately 420,000 cast ballots.

Campaign signs line Dixie Highway in Homewood Tuesday as voters went to the polls in spite of the growing coronavirus pandemic. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

Joe Biden won the primary and majority of the Illinois delegates in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination. He garnered more than 60 percent of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 32.8 percent, in unofficial totals.

Republican primary voters cast nearly 50,000 votes for President Donald Trump in his bid for reelection.

Kim Foxx of Flossmoor was declared the winner for the Democratic nomination for Cook County State’s Attorney, a job she’s held for four years. Other winners on the Democratic ballot include Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Robin Kelly, who are seeking reelection.

In unofficial numbers it appears Lori Wilcox, city clerk in Chicago Heights, bested Sen. Patrick Joyce in Cook County for the 40th District Senate seat. Joyce was appointed to the seat previously held by Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields. He is running for the Democratic nomination for a two-year term. 

Whether Wilcox will remain the winner is difficult to say. The majority of the district is in Will and Kankakee counties. The Chicago Tribune reported that Joyce appeared to be in the lead, however, by about 5 percent.

Unofficial Cook County vote totals also show Iris Martinez winning the nomination for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, and P. Scott Neville Jr. keeping his seat on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Despite the warnings to not congregate in groups, voters said they didn’t have any fear about being infected with the COVID-19 virus at their precincts.

“That won’t stop me,” Diane Wagner of Homewood said.

In Precinct 24 at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Sports Complex at James Hart School, voters were complimentary of precinct judges and their attention to cleanliness.

Alainna Zachary said, “Everyone was practicing appropriate social distancing in the line. No one got too close. (Judges) were actively wiping down every pen before someone used it, and they had hand sanitizer. They clearly made it as clean as they could.”

Others leaving the polling place also commented on how the judges were wiping everything down. Cassandra Turner of Homewood said, “They’re very clean in there.”

Jack Hrymak left the polling place with the reminder to “keep six feet apart. I’ve got my wipes. It’s America, you have to vote.”

His wife, Mary, and daughter, Beth, agreed. Despite the warnings not to be around too many people, neither said they felt any personal threat by being in the polling place.

“I think we need to have changes in our government, and it’s the first step,” Mary Hrymak said after casting her ballot.

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