The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Editorials

March 18, 2014

Be sure to cast a ballot

Lots of people complain about elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. Yet, few will participate in the most effective way to make one’s voice head loud and clear — voting.

Today’s primary election in Illinois allows the state’s residents to decide what names will appear on the ballot for November’s general election. Direct primaries remove the power of political machines that once selected candidates regardless of the public’s opinion.

Tet the turnout today will be small. One of the reasons will be the requirement that voters declare they want a ballot for the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. How one is registered doesn’t make any difference. Voters can ask for a non-partisan ballot to vote on a referendum, but no candidates will appear on it.

Many people do not want to declare their political affiliation. Some states do use an open primary. That might help increase the turnout for primaries.

The real culprit simply is apathy on the part of voters. They perceive a system where money rules and their votes don’t appear to make a difference. But that’s exactly the kind of belief that allows the political machines to control the outcome. If few people cast ballots in a primary, a concentrated effort can bring out enough votes to swing results one way or another — exactly the kind of thing primaries are designed to prevent.

Voting takes but a few moments, but the results can ripple through communities and states for years. Don’t put off voting in today’s Illinois primary. Your ballot can make a difference.

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