It’s Never Been More Important
by Philip Nelson, President, Illinois Farm Bureau
We are just a few days away from one of the most important mid-term elections in recent memory. Many statewide and local races are expected to be very close. It is vital that everyone makes an effort to vote.
Voter turnout for mid-term elections is usually low. But this year, Illinois is electing a Governor and a U.S. Senator, as well as various other state and local officials, all of whom will impact our future. Whatever your party affiliation, find a candidate who not only supports positions you find important, but find one you think can get the job done.
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio held a roundtable at former IFB board member Gerald Thompson’s house last week. Current IFB directors Darryl Brinkman and Dale Hadden also participated in the radio discussion. WBEZ was interested in thoughts from farmers on the election and how the outcome will impact farmers.
Darryl Brinkmann pointed out to host Richard Steele what he thinks is the most important issue facing voters this year.
“But what can I do?” you might ask yourself. “My vote won’t matter anyway.”
Too long in Illinois and across the nation, that kind of voter apathy has resulted in people getting elected to office whose interests are not solely based on what’s best for the people.
During the WBEZ discussion, Gerald Thompson told Richard Steele that apathy is why we’re in the situation we’re in now.
Your vote doesn’t count? I would point to the closely contested 2000 Presidential election, in which five states were decided by less than one percentage point. Florida, a state which had a population of about 16 million in 2000, was decided by 537 votes, or an astonishing .0092%. More recently, this year’s Illinois primaries were pretty close, too. Governor Pat Quinn won his Democratic primary by 8,087 votes, or .8%, while Republican nominee Bill Brady won by 420 votes, or .1%. The third-place republican was even within one percentage point in that party’s primary.
Said another way, the 2000 Florida vote was decided by about eight votes per county, and the 2010 Illinois Republican Primary was decided by about four votes per county.
Still think your vote doesn’t count?
If you look back a little farther in your history books, you’ll find that American and world history were both made by a difference of just one vote.
One vote kept Aaron Burr from becoming President. Thomas Jefferson was elected instead.
As part of our system of government, it’s always been the duty of an informed citizen to go to the polls. And, again, it’s never been more important. If you’re signed up to vote—good for you; now there are only a few days left to get informed. Tune in and learn about the issues important to you, and then turn out to the polls on November 2. It’s really that simple.
Note: You can hear the whole interview on the WBEZ website at http://bit.ly/cZ4LpJ