Last June, Pew Research Center released a 120-page report titled “Political Polarization in the American Public.” Subtitled “How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life,” the report explains Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.
The survey of 10,000 adults nationwide found that these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process. The partisan rhetoric and lack of compromise continue to cripple necessary reformation of social and economic initiatives within our country and state.
If the most engaged and active are divided along ideological lines as the report states, where are the more moderate, compromising individuals? Why have they chosen to sit out the debate? Is it frustration? Apathy? Overload?
More than ever, we need leaders to help break the impasse. We need voters to put them in the position to bring change.
Whether you are concerned with jobs, healthcare, education, budget, or good government, you must raise your voice. We must cast our ballots in November.
Voting is more importantly a privilege than it is a right. Fewer than half of the 200 million Americans that are eligible to vote this year actually will. Your one vote is very important.
Residents of the Fox Valley who actively participate in the election process help ensure that our region remains a desirable place to live.
In fact, during the last midterm election in 2010, there were 8.9 million Illinois residents who were eligible to vote. However, only 3.8 million (approximately 42.5 percent) cast ballots. This ranked Illinois in the bottom half of states (at number 31) for voter turnout. Nine of the states had more than half of its eligible voters turn out. At the top were Maine at 56.2 percent and Minnesota at 55.9 percent.
Statewide, we have a number of key races that will shape our future: senator, governor and other statewide executive offices. Locally, there are congressional districts and Illinois General Assembly seats being contested. As a result of November’s elections, we will see a number of new faces in the State House. Retirement and higher office races have created opportunities for new representatives from the 41st, 50th, 65th, and 97th House districts.
I encourage you to take a few minutes on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to visit your polling place and cast your ballot. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 7. Early voting begins Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 2.
To register to vote, check your registration or find your polling location, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections at http://www.elections.state.il.us and click on the Voters button at the top. Residents of Aurora who reside in Kane, Kendall or Will counties can contact the Aurora Election Commission at auroravotes.org or by calling (630) 897-4030.