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Archive for the ‘2020 Elections’ Category

The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials in 2020. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

Racism allegations follow as plan to move 25 kids into Barrington Hills home stalls

Although the leader of an organization helping disadvantaged minority youths contends race is a factor in his delayed plan to move into a Barrington Hills home with 25 children of color, village officials say the zoning code is the only issue.

This June 30 article received 11 comments, and 12 Facebook shares.

Time to stop giving 220’s Harris passes

A week ago today hundreds of parents and students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 gathered at a rally in Citizens Park to ask the district to allow in-person schooling to resume. Some spoke while others displayed signs such as, “Open our schools for in-person learning,” or “Face 2 Face learning is essential” (seeI am asking for a choice’: Barrington 220 parents, students rally for in-person learning” and “Hundreds turn out for Barrington rally calling for end to remote learning, restart of student sports”).

No one commented on this September 21 editorial, but a record 86 people shared it on Facebook.

220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response

Wednesday District 220 emailed the following notice to the community:

Over the past couple of weeks, the district has been looking at the possibility of using COVID-19 testing as one additional component of several virus mitigation efforts. At the Dec. 1 Board meeting, the Board decided it would not consider using COVID-19 testing at this time due to high costs and the fact that it would not be a full proof [sic] measure in preventing the spread of the virus.  Click here to watch the Board’s full discussion about COVID-19 testing.

New Trier Township High School District 203 did not hesitate at all when in October they announced, “…they will pay up to $1.3 million to conduct COVID-19 saliva screenings for students and staff.” As a result of their proactive measures, some students are back in classroom today, December 4.

There were 2 comments on this December 2 editorial, and 3 shares on Facebook.

Homicide investigation on Old Sutton Rd just south of Otis Rd, Barrington Hills

Barrington Hills police and firefighter/paramedics from Barrington -Countryside FPD responded about 3:34 a.m. Saturday March 7, 2020 to a report that multiple people were shot at or near a home in the block of 300 Old Sutton Road. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that there were multiple gunshot victims. At least two victim were transported to a local hospital. At least one victim was possibly dead at the scene.

We got one comment to this March 7 story, but 35 shares on Facebook.

Fact checking

On Monday night, CBS Chicago reported a story that included audio and text stating the following:

“Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.” (InZone Project Founder Says He’s Been Hit With Red Tape In Efforts To Bring Black And Brown Boys From Chicago To Live In Barrington Hills Mansion.)

There is no recorded public record of a recent sale of the property on 541 Merri Oaks Road. Public records do indicate that the property is currently owned by a Trust and has been under the ownership of the Trust or related parties since 2002.

There were no comments or shares on this July 1 article..

NEW! Solitude Ranch w/Indoor Pool, Event Friendly! $599 per night

Sneak away from the big city for a peaceful stay at ‘Solitude Ranch,’ a vacation rental in Barrington! This ranch is one-of-a-kind, offering 3,567 square feet of space complete with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, an upscale kitchen, sunken den, wall-to-wall windows, and even an indoor pool!

There were 3 comments made about this March 7 ad, but no shares

Barrington District 220 reverses course, switches to online classes only

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

There was one Facebook share, and 9 comments to this July 29 article (most of which objected to our choice of graphic used).

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We searched on Barrington Hills for the results of the presidential election, and the results are depicted above.

Joe Biden won Illinois by nearly 17 percentage points, Sen. Dick Durbin sailed to reelection over Republican challenger Mark Curran and the graduated-rate income tax amendment fell by a wide margin.

The statewide results were mirrored in final tallies from Chicago and the collar counties. Biden defeated President Donald Trump in those areas by a 57.4% to 40.7% margin; Durbin had 54.5% of the vote to Curran’s 38.8%; and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed income tax amendment fell 53.4% to 46.6%.

But break down the vote behind those apparent landslides into the smallest electoral pieces — precincts — and a more nuanced picture emerges. Solidly Democratic precincts in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood saw the tax amendment fall by a wide margin. Same story in parts of Libertyville. Pockets of Niles went for Trump but saw Durbin finish ahead in the race for U.S. Senate. Parts of Lake Forest went for Biden but not for Durbin.

Search (HERE) for your address, ZIP code or town to see how your neighborhood compares. The buttons above the map allow you to switch from the race for president, U.S. Senate and the tax vote.

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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

Read more here.

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Tom Wilbeck

The outcomes of all local McHenry County races remained the same after election results were updated for the last time Tuesday evening.

The results of only one race had changed when the McHenry County Clerk’s Office last updated results a week ago: Democrat Tanya Jindrich had taken the lead over Republican Mike Shorten for the second of two McHenry County Board seats representing District 3. That result remained the same Tuesday evening when the final tallies were totaled.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes.

Ultimately, Meshes had 32.6% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.1%. The remaining ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 178 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, beat out both of them. His 14,039 votes gave him 35.3% of the vote.

Read more here.

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McHenry County Board Chair Jack Franks

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, an incumbent Democrat, conceded his bid for re-election to his Republican opponent, Mike Buehler, at a meeting of the County Board Thursday morning.

Franks – who trails Buehler by over 9,000 votes, nearly six percentage points – said he thought it was time to acknowledge that McHenry County voters have spoken in choosing Buehler to lead the County Board through the next four years.

Read on here.

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Tom Wilbeck

County Clerk Joe Tirio said 6,023 ballots were added to the latest countywide count Tuesday evening, and no more counting would be reported until Nov. 17, the last day the clerk can receive mail-in ballots that had been postmarked by Nov. 3, when polls closed.

There were still 642 mail-in ballots that had been returned countywide and not yet counted after Tuesday’s update, with 14,967 mail-in ballots requested but not yet received by election officials.

As long as ballots were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 17, they will be counted. There also remained 1,211 provisional ballots from across the county that could be added to totals on Nov. 17.

That means the leaders in some of McHenry County’s closer races could change once again.

In the race for the McHenry County chairman job, Republican newcomer Mike Buehler, of Crystal Lake, still was leading with 52.9% of the vote over Marengo Democrat’s Jack D. Franks’ 47.1%. Before the ballots were updated, Buehler had 53% of the vote. 

As of Tuesday, Buehler had 83,691 votes while Franks trailed behind at 74,596.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her slim lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes. Meshes, on Tuesday, had 32.59% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.16%.

However, the updated ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 168 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, is leading over both of them. His 13,872 votes gives him 35.26% of the vote.

Read more here.

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“Earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers enacted emergency changes in the state’s election law that applied only to the Nov. 3, 2020 election. Designed to promote safe voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes included expanded vote by mail, more early voting hours, and secure drop boxes for mail ballots.

As of Nov. 2, nearly 1.8 million mail ballots had been received by election authorities and more than 1.8 million people had participated in early in-person voting—meaning nearly 3.6 million votes were cast before Election Day. In 2016, early voting and mail ballots totaled about 1.9 million.

How did those changes work for you? What can Illinois learn from this election? With voting behind us, it’s time to consider whether any or all of the changes should be made permanent. 

The Better Government Association would like your input to help shape recommendations for future elections. Please help us by taking our brief survey: 

TAKE SURVEY

If you do not wish to use the survey form, you can still share your experiences; just send an email to policyteam@bettergov.org with the subject My 2020 Voting Experience.

Thank you!”

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

When Illinois voters rejected Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s request for permission to alter income taxes, they twice defied the wealthy governor, embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan and the dominant Democratic majority in Springfield.

They voted No on a constitutional amendment to switch from a flat tax to a graduated tax. In doing so, they said No to the defining characteristic of this state’s Democratic problem-solving, which tends to be: throw more money at it. Streamline government? Consolidate taxing bodies? Allow voters to enact term limits? No, just raise taxes or create new ones.

From such moments of voter frustration, political rebellions can be born. There is no question in our minds that Madigan has overstayed his tenure as speaker and represents an obstacle, rather than the agent of change, for Illinois, which must fix its broken finances. Adding pressure: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday and Pritzker on Thursday joined us in saying, time for Madigan to step down as party chairman.

Election Day provided several more signs that Illinoisans are willing to challenge the ossified, self-centered and damaging fiscal policies of Madigan and the Dems. Madigan, who is linked to an unfolding federal corruption investigation, saw Republicans appear to take two House seats from his supermajority. Not a big change, but every loss means something, even given the Democrats’ overwhelming position.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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In the three-way House District 52 race, Republican Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin leads by a wide margin over Democrat Marci Suelzer of Island Lake and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz of South Barrington.

With all precincts in Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties reporting, unofficial totals show McLaughlin received 28,778 votes to Suelzer’s 22,166 votes and Sarfraz’s 1,317 votes.

Read the Daily Herald report here.

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Tom Wilbeck

McHenry County’s election results will not be updated further until Wednesday, Nov. 18, after the state’s Nov. 17 deadline for counting ballots, meaning voters will not know the results of many races until then, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said Wednesday.

The county’s results for several national, state and local races remain too close to call with about 18,000 mail-in ballots that could still be returned, according to the clerk’s office. Provisional ballots have also not been added to the totals.

This leaves several races hanging in the balance as election staff continue processing and counting mail-in and provisional ballots over the next two weeks. All mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 are eligible to be counted, Tirio said in an interview last week.

The race for county board chairman has Republican challenger Mike Buehler leading incumbent Democrat Jack Franks by about 9,500 votes, according to Tuesday night’s unofficial results which were last updated just after midnight.

In the race to represent county board District 1, in the southeastern corner of the county, Democratic newcomer Theresa Meshes is neck-and-neck with Republican incumbent Yvonne Barnes, with Meshes leading by 37 votes. Republican Tom Wilbeck, also an incumbent, leads both of them by a similarly slim margin of about 1,100 votes.

Read more here.

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