By Clayton Mendez
A Democratic Party Committeeman. A neighbor and friend. A husband and father of four. Paul Rosenfeld wears many hats in Chicago’s 47th Ward, but he doesn’t have time to reflect on that now, or the voice.
He’s too busy speaking with the people of his ward, in the Lakeview area, and urging them to vote.
However, it’s not about the big race for Rosenfeld. He’ll tell you that there’s little use in trying to sway the vote for the presidency this year. Minds are made up, he said. “They’ve decided that long ago, and there’s no turning them now.”
Instead, Rosenfeld, 53, is looking at all the local options on the ballot, which provide opportunities for change in a city known for its Democratic leanings. Every day, he drives to the polling station at Welles Park, one of the city’s early-voting locations, and patiently waits for voters to come by. “We want to make sure everyone who can vote gets the chance to,” he said. “Our biggest goal is eliminating voter suppression as best we can.”
For hours on end, Rosenfeld talks and listens to those he represents. Every ward in Chicago has a Democratic and Republican Committeeman. Their unpaid job is to handle political duties like voter registration and Election Day operations, while the ward’s Alderman takes care of the government and constituent services side of things.
Talking on the phone as Election Day nears, Rosenfeld’s voice is hoarse, tired, but still going. His hard work has paid off, too. The 47th ward has had the highest voter turnout in Chicago since he became a Committeeman in 2016.
His team of young and old volunteers buys into the commitment Rosenfeld has for the community. “That’s why we’ve been as successful as we have when it comes to voter turnout,” he said.
Next Tuesday, his volunteers will be in all 24 polling stations throughout the ward ‑- troubleshooting, being helpful to voters, and ensuring that any faulty voting machines are reported promptly to the State’s Attorney.
When what he anticipates being the most significant Election Day of his lifetime is over, Rosenfeld doesn’t plan to rest. He hopes to be dancing and celebrating with his wife, Ellen.