Illinois is holding a “consolidated election” on April 4, 2017. It’s one of those elections that can be easy to pass you by because there isn’t a presidential race or candidates running for Congress or statewide office, so you haven’t been seeing a bunch of television ads.
Still, it’s an important election – perhaps in some ways more important than those national elections. The winning candidates will decide issues that will directly affect your city, schools, parks and libraries — in other words, your family. In Geneva, there is a referendum that will decide whether a new library will be built; the Kane County Forest Preserve has a referendum that would allow it to purchase up to 2,500 acres of new open space. Those are just two examples on the ballot for some voters this year, but again, these local officials are the ones who decide how community resources are spent, what school buildings stay open and which ones are closed in shrinking districts, and countless decisions that could impact your family in coming years.
Early Voting makes it easier than ever to make your voice heard!
In Kane County, you can vote through April 3 at locations in Geneva, St. Charles, Elgin and Carpentersville. Here’s info on those addresses and times. (I voted a week ago, and I was done within 10 minutes. Easy peasy!) In DuPage County, there are permanent early voting locations through April 3 in Naperville, Wheaton, Bloomingdale, Aurora and Lombard. Find detailed info on those locations here by clicking on the “Early Voting times and locations” link about 1/3 down the page.
To be eligible to register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, be 18 years of age by the next election and reside in the precinct for 30 days prior to the next election.
If you’re not sure if you are registered or if your registration is current, you can visit this Illinois State Board of Elections site. If you are registered, it will tell you where your polling place is located. If you’re not, there is a “grace period” provision that allows for you to register and vote all at the same time. Call your county election division for more information. (City of Aurora residents in Kane, Kendall or Will Counties should contact the Aurora Election Commission.)
If you know you are registered but aren’t sure what races might be contested in your area, and you live in Kane County, you should visit the Kane County Elections site. About halfway down on the page, to the right of “Find” and a big arrow, you’ll find a place to put your last name and address. Click on through and eventually you can find a sample ballot for the April 4 election.
If you want to get educated before heading to the polls, the Kane County Chronicle offers an Election Central where you can find information on candidates running for not only city councils but also school districts, park districts and more. The Daily Herald has election coverage for a wider range of the suburbs. And a group of non-partisan volunteers put together this Kane County Election Guide as well.
I know that when you have young children in your life, your to-do list is long and demanding. But the outcomes of these local races do have a big impact on young families. So I hope to see you at the polls on or before April 4.