Hickory Hills scouts save the (election) day

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

It was the Boy Scouts to the rescue in the Palos 19th Precinct in Hickory Hills.
Hickory Hills residents who were given new voter ID cards were told to vote in Tuesday’s primary election at Krueger Park Recreation Center. Instead, it will be held at St. Patricia’s Parish Church, 9000 S. 86th Ave.
Seven members of Boy Scout Troop No. 728 and two troop leaders distributed flyers Sunday to 620 homes in one Hickory Hills election precinct advising voters of where to vote.
Troop 728 leaders Karen Shamasko and Linas Matonis were joined in the project by troop members John Damme, Alex Fields, Ben Fields, Jake Fields, Daniel Janicki, Morgan Mitchell and Robert Shamasko.
In early February, the Cook County Clerk’s Election Department consolidated two Hickory Hills precincts – the Palos 4th and Palos 19th districts -- in one location at the park recreation center, according to a news release sent by 3rd-ward Alderman Tom McAvoy. Aldermen Brian Fonte, McAvoy, City Clerk Dee Catizone and Mayor Mike Howley protested there would be too much congestion at the Rec Center.
“If the two precincts were located at the recreation center, that would have meant that over 1,800 voters would have had to cram into two small rooms,” McAvoy said in the news release. “Furthermore, the center draws a lot of visitors and the parking lot would be overwhelmed and no on-street parking is nearby. The location can handle the 700 voters from Precinct 4, but not the additional 1,100-plus from Precinct 19.”
The County reversed its relocation decision and returned 19th Precinct polling place to St. Patricia’s. However, at about the same time, new voter ID cards were mailed to each voter listing their polling place as the recreation center.
McAvoy said he and Fonte printed 600 flyers notifying area residents of the change. They appealed to the boy scouts for help in distributing the flyers to every home in the area.
For four hours on the crisp day, the scouts and leaders fanned out and delivered a flyer to each home from 87th St. to 91st Pl. between 88th Ave. and Kean Ave.
“They really came to the rescue and I’m sure their efforts will help avoid an election day nightmare,” said Fonte in the news release.
Voting will be done in the vestibule of St. Patricia Church and not the school hall.