Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Local elections, Champaign County/Illinois- UPDATED

Posted by Chris on October 29, 2008

This is to provide resources for you if you would like to be a more informed voter next Tuesday, especially in our State and local elections here in Illinois.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information out there in any one place.  Here’s my suggestions for becoming more informed

1. Decide on what is important to you.  Are you passionate about the justice system?  (You should spend more time reading about judges and the State’s Attorney).  Are you concerned with environmental issues?  That is part of the platform of Naomi Jakobbson, who is running for a state congressional position.  Etc… Then, really read up on those races.  Google search for the candidates to see if they have web sites, which should hopefully have more info than any other source.

2. Familiarize yourself with all the races so that you can make an informed decision on as many as possible.  Figure out what exactly each elected official does, and make an effort to think about what qualities and/or beliefs you think are important for that job.  Then browse through the News-Gazette articles and the Voter’s Guide.

3. Talk to others.  Today at work I learned that my co-worker used to work for the Forest Preserve.  It just so happens that one of the things on the ballot is a property tax increase to give the Forest Preserve more money.  I now know much more about the Forest Preserve than I did before.  Consider what people would know at your job.  I work for a bank.  Thus, I plan to talk to people who work with releasing mortgages about what they know about the County Recorder’s office and see if they have an opinion on what could be done better, because one of the races is for the County Recorder.

4.  Vote.  It’s free.

The race I am most passionate about at this time is State’s Attorney.  I am supporting the challenger, Janie Miller-Jones.  I won’t get on a soapbox here but if you’d like to know more reasons, please ask.  And if you don’t care, vote for her!

Resources

UPDATE: I’m not going to delete all the News-Gazette info below, but they’ve put it all on a free section of their web site, found here: http://www.news-gazette.com/special/2008_election/

And here’s the direct link to the County Clerk page where you find out where you vote and all the district information as well as a sample ballot so you know exactly which contests you will vote on: https://www.champaigncountyclerk.com/elections/registration_status.html

County Clerk’s Office. Here you can find where you go to vote and information on the elections.  Everyone should read the Voter’s guide, especially the part that lists all the positions up for election and the names of each candidate.  Also there are pretty good descriptions of the Referenda on the ballot.  The voter’s guide is a PDF and is found here.  It’s also important so that you can know which district you are in.

Second, I went through all the News-Gazette’s from this month.  Unfortunately, they require you to pay to read the archives online, so you’ll have to go to the library (or to that neighbor’s house who keeps all the newspapers for months at a time).  You can find them at the Champaign Library, upstairs in the back left corner near all the magazines.  I’m going to list by race where you can find articles and a list of the editorial choices.  They’re not in very good order so you’ll just have to sort through them.  For each position I’m listing the date and page #, and editorial date in italics.

Third, the political party sites.

I myself plan to go back because I didn’t know which district I was in for different races so I need to look that up first.

Recorder: 10/29, A5.  10/16

Circuit Clerk: 10/28, A5.  10/21

Champaign Co Board, Dist 1: 10/20, A5.

Champaign Co Board, Dist 7: 10/23, A5. 10/24, A1.

Champaign Co Board, Dist 8: 10/22, A2.

Champaign Co Board, Dist 9: 10/25, A4.

All 9 districts for Champaign County Board discussed in editorial on 10/30

US House of Representatives: 10/14, A3. 10/24, A5.  10/28

IL House 103th District: 10/18, A1.  10/14

IL House 104th District: 10/17, A1.  10/12

Auditor: 10/18, A5.  10/22

Coroner, 10/20

US Senate, 10/31

State’s Attorney, 10/16

Champaign County judges, 10/20

Forest Preserve tax: 10/28, D1.

Champaign City property tax increase for general assistance fund, 11/1.  10/31

School sales tax: a lot of places

POLITICAL PARTY SITES

Champaign County Democrats’ candidates

Champaign County Republicans’ candidates

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

IL State Board of Elections

Champaign County


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5 Responses to “Local elections, Champaign County/Illinois- UPDATED”

  1. anonymous said

    I’ll bite. Why Janie Miller-Jones over Julia Rietz?

  2. Chris said

    Thanks for asking. The two basic reasons for voting against an incumbent would seem to be a)Not liking the status quo and voting for “change” (sound familiar?) and b)liking the challenger. I am supporting Miller-Jones for a bit of both reasons.

    a) Why don’t I like the status quo? Admittedly, 4 months ago not only did I not think about what a State’s Attorney did, I thought they were on the state level. However, I’ve received a crash course on SAs since then as the SA office has affected the lives of some people I know.
    I have 2 main problems with the way things are. Most importantly, there is a gang problem in Champaign. And it seems like people don’t know or don’t care. I certainly fell in the former category until this year. State’s Attorneys choose who to charge and with what. This includes gang leaders and members who certainly are in and out of jail but apparently not in prison. I’m not talking about putting more low-income men in jail for drug-related charges; we have enough of that in this country. But strategically I’ve got to think that if we arrest and put away the right people, the gang infrastructure can be irreparably damaged.

    Also is the issue of equitable justice. The deck is stacked against the poor and addicted etc… Others like athletes may be guilty of far more egregious crimes yet get off with relatively minimal punishments. If you look at other blog posts of mine you can see that I have a worldview that believes that God ordains government as a tool for justice without favoritism, therefore this kind of thing I do not support.

    b) I like Miller-Jones. She has been a public defender for 9 years. I’ve known someone that her office defends for less than 9 months and I’m already fed up by the things I’ve seen and heard. I met her and when she says she’s running because she can do more for people like that as State’s Attorney, I believe her. She probably knows more about inequitable justice than anyone.

    I can only take her at her word and my perceptions, but I find her to have little pretense and don’t think she’s doing this for the prestige.

    She also told me that she would work harder to not only prosecute gang members but also create more ways to reach youth and deter crime at that age. for more about that, I’d recommend you check out her web site.

  3. anonymous said

    Thanks for posting your reasons. I also support Miller-Jones. Change IS appropriate at this point, and Miller-Jones would make good decisions as a prosecutor. I hope others consider the reasons you’ve given.

  4. Chris said

    Glad to hear it. I’ve been told and perceive that she will likely not win, not only because people tend to vote for the incumbent but because the News-Gazette favored Rietz.

  5. anonymous said

    The News-Gazette’s reasoning for supporting Rietz was pretty thin. I hope people make their own decision and get out to vote.

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