Vote! Or don’t. ???
The Pekin election may be stealing the headlines… But there are local elections for school boards and other positions that need to be respected with a vote. Or do they?
We have been taught to practice our constitutional right since we were in grade school. But let me play devil’s advocate here… Unlike the Pekin city elections which have had a lot of coverage… The local election in your backyard may leave you wondering who you are voting for. Should you make an uninformed vote?
Personally, I searched the local Peoria area paper for any information on the school board elections in my home district of Deer Creek-Mackinaw #701. I googled the election names. Ballotpedia, a national elections information website, does not cover local elections either. I started with a search of Journal Star (I have a PREMIUM sub now) and the only information on a school board was a PREMIUM article on the candidates for Dunlap. I do not have a Pekin Times subscription, but the results of a search showed me that wouldn’t matter anyway… There is nothing to read there either. Mackinaw does have a local weekly newspaper called the Mackinaw Mail. Like Obe Wan Kenobi, they were my last hope… Unfortunately, the force of the local press was not strong enough.
So, am I left to wonder who these folks are? Shame on me, I should not have waited till election eve to find out the information. Not that I could find the information without seeing the filing documents…. I have no idea how to reach these people and find out who they are?!?!?
Should I vote for or against them? Should I leave the decision to the people who know them or who have an interest in this election?
I think the end results of the journey of discovery about this subject distill down to one point: We need a better way of learning about our candidates.
Local media relies on “clicks” for revenue and no media outlet will not find an article on the DeeMack School Board Candidates nearly sexy enough to spend time writing. They could tell you the top 5 donut shops in Peoria and get 5000% more “click” revenue.
If it’s a matter of revenue versus local reporting… You have to ask where the core integrity of media lies. This is a question for all levels of media.
Lastly, I will say this… Just as I have had to do for myself… It appears that the onus of information about a candidate relies solely on that individual. Want to let people know about you or your campaign? Get involved locally. Get online. Get social. Spend money. That’s about the only way you can guarantee your message gets out in the “get clicks” media environment we live in.
After downloading the PDF of the sample ballot from the Tazewell County Clerk… I came up with the 3 names running for school board at DeeMack.
Mark Chilton and Abagail Boyd were not found when I searched Facebook. (easily at least, maybe they exist on the socials but I did not find them!) Stephen Yarnall has a Facebook and it shows him as a former superintendent of DeeMack Schools. So… I have faith and trust that he knows what he is doing. Maybe? That’s not enough to sway my opinion. There was a 4th option on my ballot… A write-in slot. I thought this was impossible after the recent wave to recruit candidates for every position. Maybe this trend is settling down?
Regardless. I did not vote on any of the candidates for my local School Board. I did not know them or anything about their personal policies. I felt it was wrong to support someone who I do not have a feeling about.