Become informed, then vote
Because the state of Illinois is considered safe for President Obama for the presidential election, there may be some who do not feel the need to vote on Election Day because either their vote “won’t count” or their candidate is already certain to win the state.
However, there are many reasons why everyone eligible to vote should still do so by Tuesday, Nov. 6.
While the vast majority of news is focused on presidential politics, the reality is that the presidential race represents two positions (president and vice president) within the same branch of the federal government. It does not address U.S. House or Senate races; it does not deal with state-level races; it does not deal with local races.
It can be argued that local politics matter a lot more to the daily lives of citizens than do presidential politics. The more local one gets, the more direct impact one will feel from those elected to office.
If you need to deal with the local court system in any way, you are impacted by the actions of local elected officials. If you have a county zoning question, or need help with information about a local issue, that help is provided by either a local elected official directly, or someone working for that official.
Most of the situations in which you interact with the “government” in your day-to-day lives, you are interacting either directly or indirectly with local elected officials. Even the broader, federal policies that are passed require the votes of local, elected officials.
Given that, no matter what your view is in regards to presidential politics, the importance of your vote can not be over-stated. At the county level, there are a number of offices that will be filled by a newcomer, no matter which candidate wins. In other local races, there are newcomers with fresh perspectives facing incumbents who want the chance to finish the work they’ve started.
You owe your community your time to become informed, as well as your time to vote. You do not even have to dedicate a portion of Election Day to the process, there are still opportunities to vote at your convenience before then.
The early voting period ends Saturday, Nov. 3, and the absentee voting period ends Monday, Nov. 5. The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
We are warm and safe; millions are not
The devastation from Hurricane Sandy is mind-boggling. As of Wednesday morning, dozens passed away, an unknown amount suffered injuries, millions remain without power, and economic loss estimates range from $10 billion to $50 billion.
The worst part of the situation is that it is still not over. Weather.com reported Wednesday that the storm is weakening, but also lingering, in the northeast. Meanwhile, a winter storm is taking control of the atmosphere, with an estimated three feet of snow dumped in certain locations that had just been battered by the hurricane. Additionally, arctic temperatures are flowing into the ravaged areas, many of which continue without power.
It is an awful situation, and you can help.
According to the American Red Cross, there is an immediate need for blood donations. Due to the scope of the storm, the organization said that 300 blood drives have already been cancelled, with more to occur in the future. This will put a strain on already-strained resources. Additionally, blood continues to be needed to help those injured from the storm itself.
Additionally, the Red Cross is asking for monetary donations, as those are the best, fastest ways to provide assistance to those in the storm-ravaged areas.
To find out how and where to donate, or how else you can help, visit redcross.org.
The worst of the storm has past, but the disaster will continue for some time, and help from those of us not affected by the disaster will prove vital to the recovery and rebuilding efforts.