President Barack Obama won Illinois’ 20 electoral votes on Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney.
Illinois, of course, was never in play. The only visit the president made to his home state late in the campaign came Oct. 25, when he returned to the South Side to cast an early ballot at the Martin Luther King Community Center.
The president's handling of the economy is a major factor in many voters' decision this year.
"This election bears serious significance for our future," said Sheila Brady of Orland Park, outside her Fernway Elementary School polling place around 11 a.m. "Our economy is still questionable. And we've heard constantly in the weeks leading up how important it is to vote this time.
"I vote regardless each time, but I do think we need to move in a better direction."
Since the 1990s, Illinois has voted for the winner of the presidential race three out of five times. Romney and Obama did not campaign at all in Illinois, but the pair danced around Illinois in frequent appearances in Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, where much more is at stake tonight.
Rebecca Rogers of Mokena said the economy played a key role in her decision.
"I'm not really a big political person, but we own a small business and we've been affected by the economy a lot,” she said. “It's important to get some change."
For some, like Richard Campbell of Chicago, Obama's four-year record is worth extending. He sees no reason to change.
Campbell was voting at Beverly West on the South Side. He was happy to cast his vote for President Obama.
"The most important thing is that we stay the course. It doesn't make sense to cut and jump."
Obama is in Chicago tonight, joining more than 10,000 people who are expected to rally around the president as he and his campaign members await election results tonight at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Media from around the globe are set up for the historic activities. Patch will be live blogging the night's events.
In 2008, Obama was victorious in Chicago and all of the collar counties. But 2012 may be a different story, with traditionally Republican counties not expected to fall in the president's favor this time.
In suburban Cook County in 2008, for example, the president took 698,158 votes — the most ever recorded by a presidential candidate, eclipsing Ronald Reagan's 1984 total of 646,444.
Only three townships tilted for the Republican in 2008 — Orland, Lemont and Barrington — and McCain could only muster 338,481 votes in the Cook County suburbs. As votes are tallied in Northern Illinois, Patch will offer more perspective on the breakdown later in the evening.
Contributing: Dan Lambert, Ann Piasecki and Anna Schier