Taking more than 81 percent of the vote in Forest Park, President-elect Barack Obama cruised to an easy victory here and across his home state on Nov. 4. That the Illinois senator so handily won here is not much of a surprise, but municipal clerks and pundits alike were bowled over by the number of new voters who turned out to support the man who will be America’s first black president.
“It was super busy here,” Forest Park Clerk Vanessa Moritz said of voter registration.
In the final week before the election, Moritz saw 255 new names added to the rolls.
During the February primary, Forest Park had approximately 7,863 registered voters. For the November election that figure increased by more than 1,000, according to Moritz to a total of 8,954 registered voters.
An unofficial tally of election results shows 7,029 voters cast a ballot in the race for the White House. Between early voting and Election Day polling, 78.5 percent of Forest Park weighed in on the race.
Voter turnout here and across suburban Cook County was high, though not record setting. According to a statement released by the county clerk’s office, 72 percent of suburban registered voters turned out for the presidential election. The total number of voters fell shy of the 1992 mark of 1,062,603. Early voting and Election Day totals amassed 1,035,014 votes, according to the county clerk.
Absentee and provisional ballots are still being tabulated, according to the county. By law, the election results must be certified with the state by Nov. 25.
In Forest Park’s 12 voting precincts, Republican challenger Sen. John McCain took fewer than one quarter of the votes in every neighborhood but one. The 68th precinct saw 111 votes for the Arizona legislator, giving him 26.9 percent of the ballots cast. McCain’s highest vote total in any village precinct was 169. His poorest showing was in the 61st precinct where he collected only 10 percent of the votes.
Obama snagged 81.4 percent of the votes in Forest Park with a total of 5,654, according to unofficial election results posted by the Cook County Clerk’s office. McCain snared only 1,287 ballots in the village for 18.5 percent.
Across suburban Cook County, Obama landed more than 689,000 votes, or 66.6 percent, while McCain carried 32.3 percent of the ballots with nearly 335,000 votes.
Also decided in this year’s election was whether state lawmakers should convene to review the Illinois constitution. That measure was handily defeated and almost 65 percent of suburban voters rejected the proposal.
Forest Park followed suit as 60 percent of residents voted against calling a convention.