Views & Perspectives | Elections make a difference

RAY LAHOOD

RAY LAHOOD

As I begin this column, we are in “the dog days of summer.” As you read this column, we are beginning the real start to the November campaign season and November election. Although I am sure you are sick already of the nasty and negative ads being broadcast by the two gubernatorial candidates, Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate JB Pritzker.

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this column that elections make a difference. Very few people believed that candidate Trump would become President Trump including the candidate himself. I believe President Trump was the most surprised person on election night when he was declared the winner. You know that many of his policies have had or will have a very big impact on citizens in Central Illinois.

I have already commented in previous columns about the very negative impact his trade policies and tariff policies are having and will have on farmers and businesses.

In the upcoming November election, every member of the U.S. House of Representatives, all 435, are on the ballot including the two members representing west central Illinois. All members of the Illinois House of Representatives and one third of the Illinois Senate will stand for election. All statewide office holders including Governor, Lt Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General are on the ballot. All very important positions in our state government. Voters also will be considering referendums. Candidates for these offices will be seeking your support and vote. All of these offices and the people who will ultimately hold these offices can and will be making important decisions affecting all Illinoisans including Central Illinois.

First and most important question: Are you registered to vote? Still plenty of time in September to register. Secondly, did you know you can now vote by mail? This is a new method of voting in Central Illinois. It is pretty simple. You fill out an application for a ballot, mail it to your County Clerk and you will receive a ballot that can be mailed back. This is a bit different from absentee voting. It is being encouraged for people who may be unable to get to the polls on election day or people who are concerned about weather conditions on election day or, in the case of many, those who have to work on election day. This method of voting is being encouraged to increase voter participation.

Now to the most important part of this commentary. Voting is one of the most important responsibilities in our democracy. On July 4 this year, we celebrated 240 years of one of the greatest democracies on this planet. With all of our faults, we are the envy of the world in terms of our governance and how we select our leaders. Our democratic system is one that many other countries have replicated many times over. We settle our political differences and disputes at the ballot box.

Voter decisions at the ballot box determine who will represent us in Springfield and Washington. Voter participation needs to increase. Our government is only as good as those who serve us and those we elect to serve us. It is not too early to register to vote. It is not too early to study the candidates’ positions and qualifications to serve. One of our most important responsibilities as citizens is voting. ELECTIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. REGISTER TO VOTE, PLEASE VOTE IN NOVEMBER!

Ray LaHood



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