Voter turnout was mixed at a number of Forest Park polling places Tuesday, according to numbers provided to the Forest Park Review by election judges.
In some precincts, fewer than 100 people had voted by mid afternoon; whereas in places with higher turnouts, the number of people casting ballots exceeded 200 by that time.
Incumbent mayoral candidate Anthony Calderone, who said he voted at the Howard Mohr Community Center, at 6 a.m., was handing out campaign fliers to voters at Grant-White Elementary School this afternoon, in between stops at other polling places.
“It’s been slow,” he said. “But that can change over the next [few] hours.”
Chris Harris, who was stationed at the community center for most of the day, described the flow of people as “dreadfully slow.” He also cast a ballot there around the time it opened its doors at 6 a.m.
Commissioner Mark Hosty, who is seeking reelection, and who was also posted outside the community center said, “Turnout seems to be on par with last year.”
“It’s a shame that 70 percent of the population don’t care enough to vote,” he added.
Calderone, who has been in municipal politics for 16 years, as both commissioner and mayor, said he didn’t recall local turnout ever exceeding 25 percent.
Things were different for Precinct 67, whose voters cast ballots at Garfield Elementary.
“We probably have more than most precincts,” said Doug Robertson, an election judge. By mid afternoon over 200 ballots had been cast.
At the Forest Park Middle School and at the Howard Mohr Community Center, election judges told the Forest Park Review, late in the afternoon, that turnout was average – low.
Glenda Parker, a judge at the middle school, said people might have been deterred by the excessive campaigning of some of the candidates.
“It might be burnout,” she said, in reference to all of the signs and flyers.
Many of the polling places were either empty of voters or sparely populated throughout the afternoon, although a few voters were willing to stop and chat about the election and the choices they made.
“I’m retired and I rest my head here, so it’s my responsibility,” said Chet Childs, a retired photojournalist and medical photographer who has lived in Forest Park for four years. Childs said he “made a mistake” in the candidates he chose four years ago, but added that he fixed those choices this year. He would not specify who he voted for, though.
Pam Gardner, a Forest Park resident, said she voted for Calderone for mayor because he’s done “a lot more” than challenger Marty Tellalian.
“He [Tellalian] strikes me as someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” she said. She is also worried that Tellalian might cut community events if he is elected.
She also voted for Tom Mannix for commissioner because he talked about building another high school in Forest Park; as well as Eric Connor, who she found appealing because he stressed the need to redo the village’s dated sewer system. Her other commissioner picks were Mike Curry and Steve Johnsen.
Forest Parker Lawrence Mulligan said he followed the Review’s endorsements when it came to picking commissioners – Chris Harris, Eric Connor, Steve Johnsen and Rory Hoskins – but added that he voted for Marty Tellalian because it was “time for a change.”
“Things have stagnated [under Calderone],” said Mulligan, in specific reference to the amount of time it has taken the village to sell the Altenheim property, which was bought in 2002.