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Local Editorials

SVM EDITORIAL: Don’t hesitate to vote March 20

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Important choices will be made 2 weeks from now in the March 20 primary. We encourage the public to resolve now to become informed on the candidates and issues and vote in the election.

Over each 2-year election cycle, Illinoisans have only three opportunities to vote: the Consolidated Election in April of odd years, the primary in March of even years, and the general election in November of even years.

Only three chances to vote every 730 days.

If you miss out on one or more of those elections, you’ve missed out on the opportunity to directly impact the choice of who will lead us on the federal, state and local levels of government.

Some people vote in every election. We applaud their dedication to performing an important civic duty.

Some people vote only for president ever 4 years. They leave the choices for local elections – city, village, school board, township and so forth – to others. They leave the nominating process in the primary to others, too.

In fact, unless there are significant local competitive races, primaries historically don’t draw much of a crowd.

The last time governor candidates were on the ballot was in 2014. In Whiteside County, which lacked local races, only 15 percent of registered voters turned out.

Lee and Ogle counties had contested races for Republican sheriff nominations, and those counties had turnouts of 27 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Still not good.

Our system of self-government is a gift from our forefathers.

Its success depends on voters educating themselves on who the best candidates are and then voting in every election.

We encourage people to look upon the March 20 primary in that light.

Sauk Valley residents who identify with either party will find significant choices on the ballot.

Democrats across the region must select nominees for governor and attorney general from crowded fields of candidates.

In the 16th U.S. House District, four candidates seek the Democratic nomination.

Republicans have primary races for governor and attorney general and 16th U.S. House District, too, as well as the 17th U.S. House District.

And there’s more.

There are contested races for GOP nominations for 89th District Illinois House, regional superintendent of schools for Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties, Whiteside County sheriff, Lee County treasurer and Bureau County treasurer.

In other words, there are enough competitive races in the March 20 primary to pique the interest of even the most recalcitrant voter.

Yes, we understand the reluctance of some people to declare a party when they go to the polls so election judges can hand them a Democratic or Republican ballot. We’d like to see that election law changed so everyone would handed the same ballot with all the candidates and parties; voters would vote in one party primary only, and would be penalized by the disqualification of their ballot if they crossed over to vote in the other primary.

We say, self-government takes gumption on the part of everyone involved – the candidates AND the voters – to step forward and do what needs to be done.

The March 20 primary is one of only three opportunities to vote over a 2-year period.

We encourage people to do their homework, then don’t hesitate to vote.

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