Fall Election 2016

Hurting from neglect: Election Day mattered in historic Indiana worker community

By Cloee Cooper

Out of nine congressional districts in Indiana, two re-elected Democratic congressmen on Nov. 8. One of those was in the 1st Congressional District, where East Chicago’s historic community Marktown is located.

Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky who has been in office since 1985, was re-elected.

Although Marktown voted Democratic, as it usually does, 57 percent of the state voted for president-elect Donald Trump.

Leslie Guajardo, mother of two, lives in Marktown,  which is a worker’s community. Tucked between Arcelor Mittal, which boasts “the largest integrated steelmaking facility in North America,” and British Petroleum oil refinery, it serves as a home to about 250 families most of whom formerly worked in the nearby industrial area.
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A historic evening, but not what they imagined

By David Jordan

It was a night of surprises.

At the election watch party at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics,  the overwhelming favorite was Hillary Clinton, and students formed a long line to pose with a cardboard cut-out of the Democratic nominee.

Early in the evening when the main dining hall was standing room only, as every state announced in Clinton’s favor, thunderous applause erupted from the crowd. Many were optimistic that Clinton would be named as the president-elect before midnight, hoping they would still have a chance to study for midterms.

Curren Mehta, a junior studying business, was the only supporter in the room of about 250 people wearing clothing in support of Donald Trump, the now iconic “Make American Great Again” baseball hat. He was reluctant to support Trump after the primary, but ultimately could not vote for Clinton because of his distaste for her economic policy. “I read a lot about both of their tax plans, and Clinton’s just couldn’t work,” said Mehta.

This year he was the only member of his family, who voted for the Republican nominee even though his father is the one who influenced his fiscal conservative ideals. During the event, his younger sister, also a University of Chicago student, came over and chastised him for wearing Trump clothing to the event.

video by Wen-Yee Lee and Kelly Calagna

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Clinton’s defeat brings remorse

By Christen Gall

Excitement shifted to somberness late in the evening at the campaign watch party for Hillary Clinton as it became clear in that Donald Trump will be the nation’s next president.

And the mood has prevailed.

“To all the women, and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing that has made me prouder than to be your champion,” said Clinton the following day in New York in front of media and her supporters.

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Protesters come together at Trump Tower in downtown Chicago

By Cloee Cooper and Fariba Pajooh

[See related story on the night’s protest]

Helicopters buzzed overhead as thousands of angry and perplexed people gathered at the Trump Tower to protest the election of Donald Trump as president Wednesday evening.

Shocked youth, minorities, pregnant mothers and middle-aged people joined together to repeat chants of “No Trump, No KKK, No Racist USA.” “Not my president” and “Donald Trump has got to go” reverberated through the streets of downtown Chicago as people, mostly young, held signs reading “Never Trump” and “Reject Racism.”

The event, originally called “Point and Laugh at Trump Tower,” was intended to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s victory. However, overnight the event was replaced with ‘Emergency Protest: Say no to Trump! Say no to Racism’ and was shared more than 55,000 times on Answer Chicago’s Facebook page. By 4 p.m., more than 8,000 people indicated on the site that they were planning to go.

See photos taken by Fariba Pajooh, Pat Nabong and Christen Gall:

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A Trump presidency is sobering for ex-offenders

By June Leffler

A week before the presidential election, Lacey Stolzke was released from jail after serving 225 days.

“I was never into politics, because I was so caught up in my drug use.”

At 27 years old, she’s in treatment and living at Grace House, a halfway house for female ex-offenders who are recovering from substance abuse. Now, she said, she’s never been more politically engaged.

“My eyes are open to how the world is changing,” said Stolzke. “Trump is going to make it harder than it already is.”

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Lacey Stolzke wants her seven-year-old son Isaac to learn to respect women, something she believes Trump is incapable of doing. (June Leffler/MEDILL)

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Hillary Clinton wins the unofficial election among people who can’t legally vote

By Pat Nabong

On the days leading up to the election, ex-offenders, permanent residents, tourists, disenfranchised voters, Mexicans and immigrants who couldn’t legally vote were able to cast their ballots in unofficial voting stations. And on the night that Donald Trump became president-elect, Hillary Clinton won the unofficial election.

Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t is an art piece by Aram Han Sifuentes and collaborating artists and activists in cities across the U.S. They installed unofficial polling stations in universities and galleries in Mexico City; Chiapas, MX; Ithaca, NY; Los Angeles; Mt. Vernon, WA; South Seattle; ; Detroit; Cortland, NY; Baltimore; Philadelphia and at three sites in Chicago. The binational installations culminated on election night when more than 2,000 ballots were counted.

Through the exhibit, Sifuentes, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. in 1992, wanted to start a conversation about people who are disenfranchised.

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One win for Illinois’ immigrant communities: mobilizing new citizens

By Alexa Mencia

Immigrant advocates linked arms in solidarity Wednesday morning to “resist and lead” following the jarring Election Day results. Many tried to inspire a renewed call to action for those feeling defeated by Donald Trump’s victory. Although the election of a political figure notorious for anti-immigrant rhetoric may seem like a setback, immigrant groups in Illinois have one clear achievement this election: mobilizing a new voter base.

Illinois immigrant rights organizers registered 25,292 new voters this year, according to Fred Tsao, senior policy counsel at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

The group put special emphasis on recently naturalized citizens to take advantage of the imminent election to facilitate naturalization, voter registration and voting with one coordinated effort.

Historically, it has seemed that as “the more recent the immigrant, the less likely that person is to register and vote,” acccording to a report by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at the University of Southern California. But, this behavioral pattern seems more closely linked to registration than to voting. ICIRR registered 12,000 new voters at naturalization oath ceremonies alone, and once early voting began, the group accompanied the new citizens to polling places.  Take a look how the strategy paid off.

Photo at top: Citizenship applicants meet with a volunteer for assistance in the naturalization process at an ICIRR workshop in October. (Photo by Alexa Mencia/MEDILL)

Play election phone banking Bingo

By Jingzhe (Kelly) Wang

Medill reporter Kelly Wang knows first hand what the frustrations and triumphs are in volunteering for an election phone bank. Play phone banking Bingo with her.

Schneider tops Dold in hard-fought race to represent the 10th Congressional District

By Sarah Haas and Nona Tepper

It was the nail-biter everyone expected.

The hotly contested race to represent Illinois’ 10th Congressional District proved to be just as close as pollsters predicted, with Democrat Brad Schneider battling late into the night in an effort to claim the seat of U.S. Rep. Bob Dold.

In the end, Schneider prevailed, capturing 52 percent of the vote in the district that covers northern Cook and Lake Counties. Dold garnered 48 percent.

The race was not called until nearly 11 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Schneider took to the stage of the ballroom in the Northbrook Hilton Hotel to declare victory.

“It is an honor to be representing the 10th District,” said a smiling Schneider, who was surrounded onstage by his family and well-wishers. “We have to make sure we continue to fight for those things that make our country truly great.”

Dold, who conceded almost simultaneously, was gracious, if somber, in defeat.

“Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short today, and in the end, that’s okay,” he said. “We tried tirelessly. The 10th District deserved nothing less.”

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Duckworth wins U.S. Senate seat, declaring a historic moment

By Guy-Lee King and Duke Omara

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) rode out upbeat campaign predictions Tuesday to handily unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), marking a fiercely fought campaign that drew national attention.

Speaking to a room full of supporters at her campaign watch party, she said that she plans to work on college loan debt reform, Illinois renewable energy changes and veteran care. “We are filled with hope that history will be made tonight,” she said.

Her victory, which came early in the evening, seemed to be a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel to supporters present at her campaign victory celebration in downtown Chicago. Continue reading