Midterms in McHenry County free, fair and secure

Discussions surrounding candidates, parties and polls continue after Nov. 8 midterms


Phil Roeder

Voters cast their election on Nov. 8 in a school cafeteria in Des Moines. In McHenry County, officials judged the midterm election to be conducted freely and fairly.

Hunter Blake, Staff Writer

The 2022 midterm elections took place on Nov. 8 across the United States and were one of the most crucial elections in history for both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Midterm elections this year marked the midpoint in President Joe Biden’s presidency and were filled with national and local elections. Races included the gubernatorial, mayoral, Senate and House of Representatives races, among other local offices. 

Overall, the biggest question for many Americans this year was the idea of “election denial,” or the thought that the results of the election were incorrect or possibly manipulated by political parties. 

On a local level, McHenry County Circuit Clerk and Recorder Joseph Tirio, a Republican, feels social media and the role of the media is a problem with election denial.

“As consumers, we often gladly trade confirmation of our bias for the truth,” he says. “This has created a market with an endless supply of ‘news’ sources … to my eye, the problem around ‘election denial’ isn’t so much an issue of … fraud or not, it’s a question of what people have been led to believe and how they came to these conclusions.”

Even though election denial was a concern in this year’s elections, Tirio explained all polling sites in McHenry County and across the country were secured to allow the people to elect their leaders. 10 moving trucks with equipment and nearly 1,000 election judges were ready to set up polling stations in the county, he mentioned. 

“In the weeks before the election, many in our office will go weeks without a day off and often work 12 or more hours a day,” Tirio says. “On election day, my staff was here at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until well after 10:00 p.m. After the election, we have to basically undo all of it.”

The midterm elections also saw some changes in the way that people vote, as many candidates backed their campaigns as supporting or not supporting abortion rights and Roe v. Wade, along with other matters such as crime, gun control and the environment. 

In Illinois, this was an important factor due to the two candidates running for governor, incumbent Democratic Governor J.B. Prtizker and Republican Darren Bailey. The two candidates had different ideas on how they would run Illinois if elected. 

Bailey planned to reopen the economy, schools and fuel job creation in Illinois. Meanwhile, Prtizker wanted to expand healthcare and protect women’s rights to abortion. Prtizker was re-elected for a second term after much controversy surrounding Bailey.

“I’m grateful tonight that Illinois continues a long tradition of peaceful and fair elections,” Pritzker said in his victory speech. “I choose to fight to protect Illinois families. I choose to fight to protect our workers. I choose to fight for women’s rights, for civil rights, for voting rights … for the better world …”

At the national level, the Republican Party were expecting a “red wave” in which they would control both the House and the Senate due to Biden’s unpopularity among many. The red wave most were expecting failed to happen as Republicans lost a seat in the Senate and barely regained the majority in the House. 

There were many reasons why this red wave did not happen, but many blame former President Donald Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen. Republican candidates who were seen as “election deniers” did worse in the election that those who did not.

“I strongly believe he should no longer be the face of the Republican Party,” former Republican Representative Peter King said in The New York Times. “His self-promotion and his attacks on Republicans … were largely responsible for Republicans not having a red wave. We can’t allow blind fealty to Trump to determine the fate of our party.”