Harrisburg prepares for primary voters in tornado's aftermath
HARRISBURG, Ill. — Election officials in Harrisburg have been working hard to make sure everything goes smoothly. Illinois is a swing state and the nation will be watching.
The voters have their minds made up.
"We've just all worked together," said Kim Buchanan, Saline county clerk.
The clerk's office has their plans in place, despite an obvious distraction.
"It has gone on. Our elections department has been open every day for voting purposes and we've had voters," said Buchanan.
Buchanan said election time is busy anyway. But this year brought added work.
"We've tried to reach out to those that have lost any vital documents in their homes," said Buchanan.
Staff members juggled their responsibilities between election prep and disaster response. Buchanan said that comes with the job.
"We're there as public servants to the people of Saline County," said Buchanan.
No polling places in Harrisburg had to be moved because of the twister. That's perhaps one of the only things the storm didn't change.
"Everything seems to be getting back to normal," said Karen Lutwinksi, a local voter. "It's sad. I was a block away from the tornado and I just thank God I'm still here."
Lutwinski said the community's been through so much and casting a vote may not be what most folks here are thinking about.
"It is a federal election, so we have to be open. Whether the courthouse was destroyed or not and thankfully, it wasn't. Our doors would have been open and they have been," said Buchanan.
For Buchanan, election day is one event even a tornado can't reschedule.
In addition to the primary ballot, Saline County voters will also decide for or against a 1 percent sales tax in the county. If passed, those funds would go to support local school districts.
Polls in Illinois will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.