March 17. Chances are you already have this date circled on your calendar.
But the notation signifying its importance is probably related to it being St. Patrick’s Day. Is there something else worth noting that doesn’t involve green beer, wearing something green so you don’t get pinched or massive helpings of corned beef and cabbage?
You could say that.
March 17 is also primary election day in Illinois. It’s our chance as citizens of the United States to have a say in who represents us in Washington D.C, Springfield and our home counties. The winners move on to the general election in November. The exact day is Nov. 3 if you want to circle it on your calendar now.
Which brings us back to the primary. It’s not too far off, and considering there are a handful of contested races, you owe it to yourself to be an informed voter.
We’re going to assume you already know this election will choose the next president, and there is a long list of Democrats doing battle in the primary for the change to challenge Donald Trump.
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The primary also features five Republicans (Mark Curran Jr. of Libertyville, Tom Tarter of Springfield, Casey Chlebek of Glenview, Peggy Hubbard of Belleville and Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge) seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin; two Democrats (Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield and Stefanie Smith of Urbana) are seeking the 13th Congressional District seat held by Republican Rodney Davis; and four Democrats (Craig Morton of Salem, Kevin Gaither of Charleston, Erika Weaver of Mattoon and John Hursey Jr. of Collinsville) and four Republicans (Mary Miller of Oakland, Darren Duncan of Rossville, Kerry Wolff of Altamont and Chuck Ellington of Camargo) vying to faceoff in the general election to replace retiring Republican John Shimkus as representative of the 15th Congressional District.
That’s a lot of people to get to know and figure out which one is best suited to represent your views.
While there is a lot of attention paid to the national election, the power of your vote and the more noticeable impact it has on your daily life grows the closer you get to home.
There are also a handful of contested races for judges and Illinois Senate and House seats in the area, including a battle that is shaping up to be a winner-take-all contents between Republicans Darren Bailey of Xenia and Jeff Fleming of Olney to replace retiring state Sen. Dale Righter in the 55th Senate District.
In addition to ballot questions seeking a tax increase to fund a building project that will include a new middle school in the Maroa-Forsyth School District and fund police protection in Warrensburg, voters in several Macon County communities also will decide the fate of recreational cannabis issues within their boundaries. Voters county-wide will decide the Republican candidates for circuit clerk (Jennifer Yborra and Sherry Doty) and state’s attorney (Philip Tibbs and Scott Rueter), as well as trimming the list of candidates for County Board Districts 5 and 7.
The good news is it’s never been easier to gather information on candidates. It’s also never been less of a hassle to cast your vote.
With all the early voting opportunities that exist, you can do your civic duty on a day that’s convenient to you and don’t conflict with any St. Patrick’s Day plans you might have.