Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

At Long Last, Voters Can Replace Blago and Burris

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Chicago Gets Out to Vote
Jack Higgins
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VIDEO: Quinn Votes | Brady Votes | Kirk Votes | Giannoulias Votes | Scott Lee Cohen Votes

As Chicago voters head to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballot for senator and governor, they'll have to keep in mind the crook and the prodigy.

It's been just two years since Barack Obama won the presidency, moved to Washington and left vacant an Illinois Senate seat that has yet to be adequately filled. Sure, Roland Burris kept it warm, but no Illinois voter sent him to the Capitol.

Likewise, it's been just about two years since Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges and impeached from office. Pat Quinn has filled in for the governor for the past couple years, but no voter asked him to preside over the state.

Tuesday is the first chance residents get to voice their opinion on whom should represent them in the highest levels of government. But they'll have to pick from a number of flawed candidates that haven't inspired a lot of confidence.

At last glimpse Republicans Mark Kirk (running for Senate) and Bill Brady (running for governor) were leading their respective races against Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn by about four or five percentage points.

The uncertainty remained Tuesday as voters line up to cast their ballots. Voter turnout is expected to be around 50 percent, according to officials.

At Precinct 39 in the 32 Ward about a dozen voters were lined up before 7 a.m. ready for the doors to open.  They seemed more concerned how their vote would count.

"Whoever is going to win determines where the state is going the next four years and frankly I feel sorry for who's going to get the job because there's going to be a mound of of debt and all sorts of problems," said voter Patrick Rueberry on the governor's race.

Some voters still aren't sure for whom they'll vote.

"I can honestly say this year is a difficult voting process for me," said Chicago resident Tareem Gibbs. "I am really torn. I do want to vote for the best possible candidate. But I'm iffy right now."

Other voters echoed her sentiment of uncertainty on voting day.

"I'm torn," said Patricia Zaragnin. "Especially in the Senate, it's a bitter battle. I think I'm ready now, but over the weekend I was undecided."

Despite their wishy washiness, there are plenty of people heading out Tuesday, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr.

"The people are involved and will be active," Orr said.

"We've had some tight races before, but these gubernatorial elections still hover around 50 percent of those registered to vote which seems shockingly small given the excitement, given the interest maybe we will surpass that."

Get More Election Coverage: Top 10 Awkward Campaign Moments, Obama Asks Chicago to "Have His Back", and the Illinois General Election Campaign Guide.

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