Rogers Park Poll Workers Wait In Line For Hours To Return Election Equipment and Ballots

Madison Savedra | The PhoenixWorkers said they haven't been able to contact officials from the Board of Elections or the 49th and 50th Wards.

About a hundred poll workers from Chicago’s 49th and 50th Wards have been stuck waiting in line outside of Sullivan High School (6631 N. Bosworth Ave.) in Rogers Park for hours. The workers — who arrived shortly after 8 p.m. and with some still there as of 11:45 p.m. — said they are trying to return election equipment and ballots to officials inside the high school and aren’t being paid for the extra time spent waiting. 

Alyse Faibisoff, a Rogers Park resident who’s worked as a poll worker for eight or nine years, said she’s never seen something like this before. 

“It’s not just the pay, it’s the total lack of respect,” said Faibisoff, who works as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools. “There are elderly people out here, neighbors are coming and bringing blankets.” 

After working the polls since 5 a.m., the people in line said they expected to be able to drop off their equipment — including boxes of uncounted ballots — and head home shortly after. Instead, they said they were met with a long line that wrapped around the building and didn’t start moving until almost 10 p.m. 

The people in line were told this was because workers inside were being trained. An official inside the building declined to comment. 

Some people in line said the officials inside the high school called the police after poll workers questioned why things were taking so long. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) responded to a call at the high school at 9:45 p.m. but there was “no disturbance,” according to police officer Hector Alfaro. 

Some in line said they tried calling the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, but didn’t receive a response. They also said they tried calling the alderwomen in charge of the 49th and 50th wards with no response. 

Maria Hadden — alderwoman of the 49th Ward which covers Rogers Park — commented on a Facebook post one of the poll workers wrote, saying the issue has been reported to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. 

Neither of the wards’ alderwomen responded to requests for comment by the time of publication. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners couldn’t be reached by the time of publication. 

Hannah Hutchinson, a Loyola sophomore studying environmental science, was one of the election judges in line. She said this was her first time being an election judge and first time voting in a presidential election.

Hutchinson, 19, said she had been working since 5 a.m. when she reported to her polling place at the Loyola Park Fieldhouse. She had been waiting to return her supplies at the high school for two hours. 

“I’m upset too but I don’t want to leave my results out here,” Hutchinson said.

Loyola senior Aliana Capati, another first-time poll worker for the 49th Ward, said she had been waiting in line since 7:30 p.m. trying to turn in her ballots and equipment. Capati said there was already a long line around the school when she arrived.

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