VOTE

Every two years we encounter a general election. Every four years, that includes a vote on who is to be the President of the United States of America. These elections get a lot of press and drive voter turn out. While I do not ever want to downplay the importance of voting for positions such as Representative, Senator, and President, there is so much more to vote for than that.

Local positions often have the most impact on our daily life. We don’t see commercials for who is running for our State’s Attorney, County Clerk & Recorder, Councilperson or Circuit Clerk. We may see yard signs and a Facebook post or two, but unless you really enjoy politics it’s quite possible you don’t know much about the candidates.

However, these are the candidates you should research the most. These are the candidates making and influencing decisions about things like where polling places are, how to prosecute sex offenders, which businesses to pursue, which roads to repair, and the accuracy and availability of court records. Tiny incremental changes are what have historically driven some of the bigger changes in our state and in our nation. It starts at the city and county level.

If you care about the potholes on your street, the President of the United States isn’t going to fix that. Your Senator is not going to fix that. Your Councilperson may be able to, which is why you’d call them.

Whatever your political affiliation, or lack thereof, it is vitally important to vote in every election and do a little research on the candidates. Whether you early vote, vote by mail, or vote on election day, make a plan to get out there and let your voice be heard. Marion Wright Edelson said “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” and she couldn’t have been more right.

Let your voice be heard not just in your Facebook posts, neighborhood chats, or letter to the editor. Get out there (put on a mask) and cast your ballot for the individuals you feel best represent your interests. Change doesn’t happen unless you make it. If you’re a woman, person of color, or have a disability your right to vote was denied for decades and fought hard for. The greatest honor you could give those that fought for your rights would be to exercise them.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how or where to vote, check out the County Clerk & Recorder’s website. In Illinois you can register to vote up until election day*! If you’re having some other barrier to voting, please dial 211 or call our office (815-756-7522) and we will assist you as best we can.

*From now until November 3rd you will have to cast your ballot at the same time you register, so plan on that!

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