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posted: 2/14/2014 5:01 AM

Editorial: Why we have a duty to endorse

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  • Daily Herald photo/Bob ChwedykGOP governor candidates forum, from left, State Sen. Bill Brady, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

    Daily Herald photo/Bob ChwedykGOP governor candidates forum, from left, State Sen. Bill Brady, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford.


On Sunday, we'll give your our recommendation in the Republican primary race for governor.

You may agree with it. Or maybe you won't.

And it'll be that way with most of the other editorial endorsements we will offer in the days that follow.

You may agree with them. Or you may not.

Some people clip out our final list of endorsements and take them into the voting booth. Actually, in this day and age, some people do the same thing with their smartphones, and like last fall, we'll make it easy on Election Day to call up the list on our mobile sites and apps.

Yes, some people do that. Some do it so they can follow our recommendations, particularly in races with lower profiles where they trust that the paper's extra access gives our editorial board insights they might not have. And some people do exactly the opposite. They take the list in so they can vote against our recommendations.

Most people don't do either. Not that they necessarily disregard our endorsements. They weigh them as one factor to consider when deciding how to vote, but they don't count on them so closely that they need to walk into the polling place with them.

All of this is fine by us. Whether you agree is not the main objective of our endorsements.

Don't get that wrong. We wouldn't make the recommendations if we didn't think they made sense. And since we think they make sense, we hope they influence how you vote. Of course we hope that.

We care about the suburbs, about Illinois, about our country and our world. And because of that, we put a lot of effort into the endorsement process. We give each recommendation a lot of thought. And we try when writing them to make persuasive arguments for our positions.

But your agreement is not the main point. Your engagement is. Your participation in the democracy and in voting is.

We believe that every citizen has an obligation to vote. But the obligation goes beyond that. It's not enough simply to show up at the polling place and then decide how to vote because you like a candidate's gender or the sound of a name or the order in which it appears on the ballot.

A citizen's obligation is more than that. A citizen has an obligation to learn about the candidates and the issues, to get involved in the process. The community doesn't just need you to vote. It needs you to cast an informed vote.

Just as we believe a citizen has an obligation to vote, we believe a newspaper has an obligation to endorse. That's an obligation we have to the community, a role we play in the democracy.

And if those endorsements help involve the public in the process, if they provide a perspective, get people thinking, prompt some debate, then they serve an important purpose regardless of whether people agree or disagree, whether people rely on them or disregard them.

We will begin presenting our endorsements Sunday for the March 18 primary election. We hope you find them persuasive, but even if you don't, we trust you'll find them meaningful.

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