Students at polls still uncertain about local candidates

By Daily Illini Staff Report

While the debates, campaigns and media have exposed both of the presidential candidates, students at the polls admitted the local candidates were somewhat unknown to them.

“From the beginning I knew who my presidential candidate was, and what he stood for. Local candidates threw me off,” said Taisha Harris, a student in Business. “I wasn’t aware of their policies or backgrounds.”

Though several of the local candidates participated in forums and debates, students still aren’t sure exactly what they stand for. Students like Moniqueka Jenkins, junior in LAS, took it upon themselves to learn as much as possible about the local races.

“I took time this year to research the local candidates because (I) knew they would be on the ballot and did not want to focus on just the national candidates,” Jenkins said.

In the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin and Republican Steve Sauerberg, many students voted in line with their party. Durbin has been a major campaigner for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, so many Obama voters felt comfortable punching his name.

“I’m a big fan of national healthcare,” said Justin Walker, a senior in LAS, adding that he felt Durbin, like Obama, was “really about helping the working man.”

Of course, in any local election, the odds are greater that voters will have had personal contact with the candidates if they’ve lived in the area long enough.

That was never more apparent when Priscilla Huch, freshman in Business, saw Julia Reitz on the ballot for State’s Attorney.

Huch was still undecided about the national election but said Reitz used to be the family’s lawyer, so she was definitely voting for her.

“She’s gotten me out of trouble before,” Huch said.

Steve Contoro, Kelly Gibbs, Alissa Groeninger, and Rosie Powers contributed to this report.