By Bob Uphues
While the race for U.S. president pretty much took up – and continues to take up – most of the oxygen on Election Day earlier this month, local voters had a couple of other hot races on their ballots, including a referendum question asking them to approve a so-called "Fair Tax" amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would have introduced a graduated income tax, requiring those making above $250,000 to pay a greater percentage.
The measure could have passed one of two ways -- either 60 percent of those casting ballots on the referendum question needed to vote yes or there needed to be a majority of yes votes among all ballots cast in the election.
It didn't work out for Gov. J.B Pritzker, who made the referendum a signature issue, saying it needed to pass to help balance the state's budget.
Statewide, roughly 55 percent of voters rejected the question. In suburban Cook County, however, the numbers were essentially flipped, unofficially, with 54.5 percent voting in favor of the Fair Tax Amendment.
Closer to home, the Fair Tax Amendment fared a little worse than it did in the rest of suburban Cook County, with Brookfield and North Riverside narrowly voting in favor and Riverside rejecting it.
Among the three towns, the Fair Tax amendment fared best in Brookfield, where 52.9 percent voted in favor.
The most enthusiastic support for the proposed amendment came from the Lyons Township portion of Brookfield, where it received 54 percent support.
Kaitlynn Tagney, a 33-year-old Biden supporter was not one of those Lyons Township voters. She voted against the Fair Tax at Congress Park School, she said, "because when I looked at the provisions they could still increase it for everyone else."
The vote was closest in the village's lone Riverside Township precinct – the Hollywood section – where yesses outpaced nos by just two votes.
In North Riverside, the Fair Tax Amendment was supported by 50.9 percent of those casting ballots. It fared best in Riverside Township Precinct 12 (everything south of 26th Street along with the 2500 blocks of Keystone, Forest and Desplaines) where support ran at 56.2 percent.
Riverside was another story. No votes ran at 49.5 percent of all ballots cast, compared to 47.4 percent yes votes, although the village's eight precincts split the decision equally, with four supporting and four opposing.
The amendment did worst in Riverside Precinct 1, which includes Maplewood Road, all of East Burlington Street and one block east and west either side of the Long Common from downtown to Delaplaine. There, 55.6 percent of those casting ballots opposed the question.
Voters south of the tracks, except in the small Lyons Township Precinct 1 at the southern tip of the First Division, supported the amendment. And, the question fared best in Riverside Township Precinct 5 – a largely multifamily area of the village west of Longcommon between Park Place and Pine Avenue – where it had the support of 57.5 percent of all ballots cast.
Eva Harvin, 21, of Riverside voted for the Fair Tax.
"I think people at higher income levels should be taxed a little more heavily than low income levels," Harvin said.
Foxx drubbed locally in state's attorney race
While the Democratic Party's nominees for office general did very well locally, one race where that was not the case was the race for Cook County State's Attorney, which pitted incumbent Democrat Kim Foxx against Republican Pat O'Brien and Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy.
While Foxx was able to win the race by claiming a whopping 63.72 percent of the vote in Chicago, she did not win a single precinct in Brookfield, Riverside or North Riverside.
In both Riverside and North Riverside, O'Brien won a clear majority of ballots cast, at 53.9 percent and 51.3 percent, respectively. In Brookfield, O'Brien won a plurality of the votes cast, at 49.6 percent.
While Dennehy was an afterthought in most of suburban Cook County, where he received 6.6 percent of the vote, he overperformed locally. He came away with 9.6 percent of the ballots cast in Brookfield, 9.2 percent in North Riverside and 7.6 percent in Riverside.
Bob Skolnik contributed to this report.