Daily Herald opinion: Vote however, whenever and for whomever, as long as you vote

This editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Unless you've already cast your ballot, you have some homework to do between now and April 4.

But we're here to help.

At stake in this election are mayoral seats, city councils and village boards, municipal clerks, school districts, community college districts, library boards, park boards and fire protection district boards.

You'll find information about the contested mayoral, municipal, school and park board races - ones in which not every candidate is guaranteed a seat - on

You'll find, at minimum, questionnaires we asked each candidate to fill out. You'll find stories related to many races as well.

You'll find our endorsements of candidates we feel have risen to the challenge.

As other newspapers scale back or abandon political endorsements, we continue to do as many as we can.

Why? Because we tend to have greater access to the candidates than most people, and we can ask them probing questions in an effort to sort out the serious candidates with a broad knowledge base and the type of experience and levelheadedness that lends itself to positive leadership.

You're welcome to take our advice or chuck it, but it's a piece of the puzzle many appreciate and count on us to provide.

All of these things, taken together, can help you form an opinion about who you feel represents your interests.

No one is running for president this time around. No one is running for Senate, Congress or the statehouse. But the people we'll be electing will decide how almost your entire property tax bill is spent.

Not voting is tantamount to writing a check for thousands of dollars every year without regard to who will decide how to spend it. It's hard to complain too loudly about the people who spend that money if you don't help choose the people who do so.

A new wrinkle this year is the emergence of groups whose primary focus has been on the books your kids read in the library or at school as well as school curriculum. Whether you support or condemn such candidates, this is your opportunity to make your opinion count.

We remind you of this every year. We'll do so until we're blue in the face. It's why we commit so many resources each election cycle to provide you with research on who stands for what.

Two years ago in the last municipal election, voter turnout in the collar counties ranged from 12.2% in Kane County to a whopping 15.8% in Will County. That's not just 12.2% of Kane County residents but 12.2% of the people who had registered to vote.

To make it more convenient, the state now offers a variety of ways to vote if you have other plans on April 4. You can vote absentee. You can vote early by mail. You can vote early in person at a number of locations in your county.

However and whenever you vote, please do so.

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