Our view: Be informed, ready to vote

Think your vote doesn’t matter?

Tell that to any of a number of local candidates who lost by just one vote in the April 2007 consolidated municipal election.

Amazingly, four races across McHenry County that election were decided by a single vote. A couple of more votes the other way, and each race would have had a different outcome.

So saying your vote doesn’t count can’t be your excuse for not casting an informed ballot in the Nov. 6 election, which now is less than a month away.

Of course, the biggest ticket item on the ballot is U.S. president. The federal government is $16 trillion in debt. The budget deficit is $1 trillion a year. Joblessness remains high. Which candidate has the best plan to fix our economy and get the country’s fiscal house in order?

Turnout usually is much stronger during presidential elections, but is 60 percent turnout good enough with so much at stake? Hardly.

McHenry County voters also will elect their congressional representatives. Because of redistricting, all of the candidates, including the incumbents, are new to us.

In the 6th Congressional District, which covers Algonquin Township in the county, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Republican, is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Leslie Coolidge. In the 14th Congressional District, which covers the rest of the county, incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren faces Democratic challenger Dennis Anderson.

Area voters also will select between Republican David McSweeney and Independent Dee Beaubien in Illinois’ 52nd State Representative District, and between Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy and Democratic challenger Amanda Howland in the state’s 26th Senate District.

All 24 McHenry County Board seats are up for election.

If you aren’t registered to vote, the deadline to do so is Tuesday. Check with the McHenry County Clerk’s Office for details. People may exercise the grace period registration and voting option. Grace period voting takes place between Oct. 10 and Nov. 3 at the County Clerk’s Office. A person who is qualified to vote may register to vote during that time frame, but he or she also must vote immediately after registering.

If you’re already registered and Election Day voting presents a challenge, early voting is available between Oct. 22 and Nov. 3 at the McHenry County Clerk’s Office and other selected sites.

Want to know more about the candidates? There are plenty of places to do research, including at www.NWHerald.com/election, where we have questionnaire responses and soon will have video of candidates answering questions from our Editorial Board.

Don’t wait until election day to determine whom you’re going to vote for. Start preparing now.

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