COVID-19, Local, Science

Close to 500 Vote Early at Park Forest Village Hall Monday

Sean and Kameron Roberson and Russell Arthur in line to vote early
Sean and Kameron Roberson (white and blue masks, Kameron in the gray hoodie) and Russell Arthur (blue jacket) in line to vote early Monday afternoon. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Elections are determined by the people who show up. Today in Park Forest, close to 500 took advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballots early and in person at Village Hall. The not-so-socially-distanced line outside wound along the sidewalk and back to the barbershop near the mailboxes well after 4:00 PM. Prior to that, before noon, the line ran past the barbershop to the corner of Victory Drive and Lester Road, according to a photograph sent by reader Andy Klinger.

With a light rain falling, Sean and Kameron Roberson of Park Forest were near the end of the line after 4:00 PM. Kameron, 20, was voting for his first time ever.

Russell Arthur was behind them. Why was he willing to wait so long? “We have no choice,” Mr. Arthur said, adding a hearty laugh, certainly going the extra mile to fulfill his right of citizenship.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s office, 484 people voted Monday in Park Forest.

Early voting is available in the lower level of Park Forest’s Village Hall, Monday through Saturday, for the week of Oct. 19 to Oct 23, and every day for the week of Oct. 25 to Nov. 2.

Hours of operation are:

Monday through Friday –  8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Saturdays – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Sunday (beginning Oct. 25) – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Given the high voter turnout, and in order to provide the safest possible environment, voters should be prepared for the possibility of longer than usual wait times, as was the case today.

Early voting before noon in Park Forest on October 19, 2020
Andy Klinger captured this picture of early voting before noon in Park Forest on Monday, October 19, 2020. (Photo: Andy Klinger)

Though early voting has routinely been offered in Park Forest in recent years, Cook County did not select the village as an early voting location for primary elections held earlier this year. When contacted about the decision, the county noted that early voting locations are periodically evaluated and changed at the discretion of the county.

“We know how important early voting is for so many in our community – for seniors, for those who rely on public transportation, and for those who just appreciate the convenience,” Village Manager Tom Mick said. “Though we understand early voting locations are solely up to the county, we also have been sure to express our ongoing interest in having early voting in our community.”

While village officials are pleased with the county’s decision to again offer early voting in Park Forest this fall, there is cautious optimism about the future of early voting in the community.

“The village and the county were able to agree on something that works for everyone this October,” Mick said.

“We want to continue to work with them however we can to try to ensure this opportunity for our residents going forward.”

Early voters in Park Forest will be required to follow all COVID-19 precautions in place at Village Hall, including the wearing of face masks and the maintaining at least six feet of distance from others.

Early Voting for Will County Residents

Early voting for Will County residents is available at the following locations:

Louis Sherman Community Center

3501 Hopkins Ave.
Steger, IL 60475

Dates & Hours

Monday, October 19 -Friday, October 23, 8:30 a.m. – Noon Monday, October 26 -Friday, October 30, 8:30 a.m. – Noon 

All of Will County

Governors State University

1 University Pkwy
University Park, IL 60484

Dates & Hours
Monday, October 19 – Friday, October 23, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, October 24, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Monday, October 26 – Friday October 30, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Saturday, October 31, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

All of Will County

Crete Township

1367 Wood St
Crete, IL 60417

Dates & Hours

Monday, October 26 – Friday, October 30, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Crete Township Residents

Sources: Village of Park Forest, Cook County Clerk, Will County Clerk