Primary election is coming! Get informed!

Illinois is having a primary election in 10 days, and I have some homework to do!

Voters will be voting for candidates for the U.S. Senate (replacing that stellar Roland Burris, who replaced Barack Obama, thanks to an appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich) and governor (Gov. Pat Quinn, who succeeded the ousted Blagojevich, is attempting to run on his own merits). There are dozens of other candidates, too, like state comptroller (never even heard of this office before — I don’t think they have a state comptroller in Minnesota) and a bunch of county positions and judges. Meanwhile, the highest profile thing on the ballot in Hampshire is a park district bond, mainly for improvements to Bruce Ream Park.

In order to be an informed voter you need to know:

  • Whether you’re registered (if you have a driver’s license, you probably are).
  • Where to vote (our polling location changed recently from the park district building to the fire station).
  • Which party you’re voting with (Republican, Democratic or Green).
  • And for whom to vote.

I found the coolest web site to help answer these questions for me. If you’re an Illinois voter, check it out:

Not only can see your sample ballot, but you can read profiles of the candidates and see which organizations have endorsed them (like the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper or the Homer-Lockport Tea Party — which if you know anything about your American history, then you know a party claiming roots to the Boston Tea Party is probably an anti-tax sort of group that probably aren’t big supporters of “liberal, tax-and-spend” Democrats — if that’s a hint).

Lots of people wring their hands over low voter turn-out rates, but if you’re not informed, you shouldn’t vote. Becoming informed isn’t that difficult. If there’s only one office or ballot question you care about, show up at the polls to vote for that single issue — you can leave the rest of the ballot blank if you wish (and you’ll still count as a voter).

So, get informed! The primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 2.

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