It’s heartening to see the number of people who have stepped up to run for a local office that is up for election in the April 9 consolidated municipal elections.
There are more than three dozen contested races on the ballot in McHenry County. It’s likely that wherever you live, there is a race or issue that needs to be decided on election day.
Consolidated municipal elections typically don’t draw huge crowds. In the April 2009 election, when the same offices were up, not even 16 percent of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot. In the last municipal election in April 2011, voter turnout was at an all-time low, with just 12.55 percent of registered voters visiting the ballot box.
Yet these are the offices that have the biggest immediate impact. Seats that are up for grabs include village boards and presidents, mayors and city council members, school board members, and township supervisors.
These are the people who, among other things, make decisions about the education of your community’s children, how much you’ll pay in property and other taxes, and the direction your community will go in.
We applaud those who are on the ballot. It’s not easy putting yourself out there for an elected office: Criticism comes in downpours, and it’s often hostile.
Members attend hours of meetings every month, and even more time reading through documents. No one is getting rich off these jobs: If they pay at all, it’s minimal in most cases. The ones who take their job seriously also attend community events and talk with constituents often.
Now we hope that residents do their part. Find out what offices are on the ballot in your community and educate yourself on the candidates. Ask questions, and demand answers. Attend forums and meetings. In the coming months, the Northwest Herald will do its part to help educate voters.
Then, on April 9, make your voice heard. Vote.