Long lines don’t deter early voters in Chicago: ‘We have a voice’

CHICAGO — The midterm election is just three days away, and voters are already heading to the polls.

The number of early votes in Illinois has surpassed the total number of votes cast in 2016. And in Chicago, more than 21,000 ballots have already been cast.

Part of that is a push to get younger voters involved. The teenagers who organized March for Our Lives are now organizing a march to the polls.

"It’s really up to us to get out to vote, show that we are a force, that we have a voice and we do matter," said Arad Boxenbaum, a senior at Stevenson High School.

A rally in Federal Plaza on Saturday was organized by high school students demanding action from elected officials, who they say have failed to prevent school shootings and other gun violence.

“Young people aren’t just going to complain about what’s going on in the political sphere,” said Jack Fetsch, a senior at Whitney Young Magnet High School. “They’re going to actively create a change that they want to see in the political sphere.”

Joliet resident Karl Mozina, 60, said he’s inspired by the youthful voices: “I’m proud of the Parkland, Florida, group. They really took a leadership role and finally got some mainstream media attention.”

High school students wrote chalk messages outside of a polling place — encouraging all voters to make their voices heard this election.

Voters from all over the city packed Chicago’s super site in the Loop on Saturday. And in neighborhood polling places, lines were out the door and around block. Across the state, voters have already cast more than 800,000 ballots, surpassing the total for 2016.

“I want people to be excited because it’s such a great right that we have in this country,” Libertyville High School junior Cat Corliss said.

Classmate Jessica Li said she’s motivated by what she sees as an attack on immigrants.

“As a child of immigrants,” she said, “and living in a community and country that’s so diverse, all of these issues affect us personally. These really matter to us.”

For more information on voting in Chicago, click here.