By Richard Guebert
President, Illinois Farm Bureau
It seems like this year has been a little off, but mostly in good ways.
Illinois, known for its hot, humid summers, turned in one of the mildest, most pleasant summers on record. Harvest was slow to start — and keep rolling — with all that rain, but we’re finally back on track. And farmers are turning in a record-breaking harvest this year, with corn piling up at elevators across the state.
But those aren’t the only ways this is an off year — it’s an off year for the election, too. As in, we aren’t voting in a new Commander-in-Chief, which means drop off voters will be prevalent and voter turnout will be low.
It’s not surprising. It happens every time there’s a mid-term election. Voter turnout tanks because voters feel like it isn’t as important to vote when you aren’t selecting a new president. But nothing could be further from the truth.
As Americans, we have the unique opportunity to push our day jobs aside and serve as human resources manager for one day every two years. We can give the thumbs up or thumbs down to congressional, senate, gubernatorial, and county offices alike, and it’s a responsibility we shouldn’t take lightly.
Voting allows each of us the right to decide who will help balance the state and federal budgets, how tax issues will be decided, whether new regulations for business and industry will be headed down the pike, tactics that will be employed as the country continues to fight toward economic recovery, and even how infrastructure, both nationally and locally, will be maintained.
As a farmer, I’m keeping a close eye on this election and the issues surrounding it, because the decisions that our elected officials make — in this case, a senator and governor — could make a difference in how I manage my farm and the decisions I make in the future. And who doesn’t want a hand in deciding his or her own future?
But farmers aren’t the only people who should be keeping a close eye on this election. You, the consumer, should be paying close attention, too. There are a bevy of issues facing the Illinois governor in the coming months and it’s your job to make sure you’re doing your best to select the man you think is best for the job.
The point is, it doesn’t matter for whom you’re planning to vote. Whether you’re planning to punch your ticket for Pat Quinn or Bruce Rauner, Dick Durbin or Jim Oberweiss, all that matters is you get out and vote Nov. 4.
You, as a single votre, can be instrumental in deciding this year’s election — and deciding how and what policies will be catalogued over the next few years. Make sure you’re well informed, are familiar with the issues and familiar with each candidate’s position on the issues. Learn about the issues and the candidates. And, finally, make your decisions and head to the polls!
Don’t be a drop off voter this year, just because this isn’t a presidential election. Make your voice heard. Vote Nov. 4.