Traffic is brisk at Peoria polling places, with a lot of first-time voters

Leslie Renken
Willie Davis casts his ballot Tuesday at the East Bluff Community Center polling site in Peoria.

PEORIA — Polling places in Peoria were busy Tuesday morning with people exercising their right to vote, many for the very first time.

“This is the first time I’ve ever voted, and I’m 34,” said Whitney McInnis while leaving Westminster Presbyterian Church shortly before noon. “In the past, I’ve always not been that interested, or it didn’t seem very important. But it’s important this year. I’m voting for the issues, not the person.”

Declan Flaherty, 20, also voted for the first time.

“You’ve got to do your part in a democracy,” he said while walking down the front steps at the church.

And across town earlier that morning at the polling place in Neighborhood House, Nikuan Edgerson, 20, also voted for the first time.

“I just felt like I know more this year,” he said. “Just having a voice, that’s what matters most.”

Edgerson was accompanied by his mother, Tracy Edgerson, who has been voting regularly for years.

“This year is very important,” she said. ‘We have to try to have our voice heard and to make a difference, and to really believe that we can make a difference.”

Many voters expressed the same sense of urgency, and some also expressed concerns about violence in the wake of the election.

“No matter who wins, I hope there’s no riots, because that’s un-American,” said Denise Scislowicz after voting at the East Bluff Community Center. “I hope everyone can just respect each other and not burn down businesses where people work. How does that help the cause?”

While polling places were busy, voters were getting through quickly Tuesday morning at the four polling places visited for this story. Both St. Paul’s Baptist Church and Neighborhood House had a few people in line before the doors opened. At Northminster, the early morning traffic was a bit heavier.

“We had 60 to 75 people standing in line at 6 a.m. this morning,” said election judge Phil Watt. “There was a 30-minute wait when we first opened.”

By mid-morning, traffic was still heavy, with about 16 people in line at 11:30 a.m.

“There were two times when there was no one here for like two minutes,” said Watt. “It didn’t last long.”

Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or Follow her on, and subscribe to her on