“I feel tired,” said Morris Reed, the CEO of the nonprofit Westside Health Authority, during a phone interview on Wednesday.  

“I don’t feel defeated, but I just feel tired,” he said. “It’s hard to put in words, but just tired overall of the effort. We don’t seem to have a victory, but we don’t seem to have defeat, either. We seem to be stuck in the middle, which is reflective of how I feel as a Black man in a Black community. It feels like we’re stuck.” 

As of Wednesday morning, the presidential race between incumbent President Donald J. Trump and Democratic challenger Joseph R. Biden was still in limbo, with thousands of mail-in ballots yet to be counted.  

Reed said he’s disappointed that the race is so close. Many minorities, and most of the West Side voters interviewed on Election Day, had hoped a resounding Biden win would be a national repudiation of a sitting president who they say is unfit to lead based on his character and behavior in office and during his bid for re-election. 

The Trump campaign is currently in court to block the count of a significant number of mail-in ballots that are still outstanding due to the Trump administration’s deliberate slowdown of the U.S. Postal Service. Many of those outstanding ballots are in Democratic strongholds, including predominantly Black and Brown areas of the country. 

“You have to be concerned that the current president refused to recognize the law and the process that has been in place since the beginning of our country,” Reed said. “If he can do this, then what does that mean for the future of our elections and future presidents? And what does the mean for our voice, when he can just go to the Supreme Court and have them supersede turnout?” 

Austin resident Karron Williams echoed Reed’s sentiment during an interview on Nov. 3. Williams was on her way to vote at the West Side Learning Center 4624 W. Madison St. 

“I’m just ready to vote, because I’m tired of what’s going on,” Williams said. “I can’t have a voice, if I don’t vote. If you don’t like what’s going on, do something about it. That is what our ancestors fought for.” 

Lou Maheffy, who was on his way to vote at Sayre Elementary Language Academy, 1850 N. Newland Ave., said that he was not particularly enthusiastic about either Biden or Trump, but the president’s behavior was the deciding factor in why he was “leaning toward” Biden. 

“It feels like I’m not voting for my political beliefs,” Maheffy said. “I’m voting more for a person, for the behavior of the current president. His behavior overshadows his politics. Whether you agree with his positions or not. You can’t agree with his behavior as a leader.”  

Carlos Ortega, of Galewood, said that the choice, for him was clear. 

“It’s a historic election, you know?” I voted Democratic,” he said. “You know what, it’s hard to say good things about the other candidate. Just based on integrity, I had to go with Biden.” 

“If Kanye was on the ballot, I would have voted for him,” Williams said. “I’d have voted for anybody who is less than the evil we have in office right now.” 

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...