Editorial: Don't ignore Nov. 3 ballot referendums

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 10/13/2020 11:21 AM

The number of political flyers in the mailbox and candidate commercials on television these days might provide a sense the federal and state races on the Nov. 3 ballot are the only ones that deserve your attention.

Certainly, they are important for the country and Illinois, starting with the race for president, a U.S. Senate race and several for U.S. House districts, including two -- the 6th District race between incumbent Democrat Sean Casten and Republican Jeannie Ives and the 14th between incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood and Republican Jim Oberweis -- that are among the most watched in the country.


Add in state legislative races and a state constitutional amendment about the graduated income tax, and together, they suck a lot of oxygen out of this election.

But we urge voters to not be star-struck and focus only on the contests at the top of the ballot, because there are many important decisions to be made on local races, especially referendums that will affect your taxes, the makeup of some local governments and other issues.

As with deciding which candidates to support in elections, suburban voters must do some homework to learn about their ballot questions to make an informed choice. A good place to start is online and the websites for those local governments that have offered the questions -- many have posted information, including video forum discussions, about the issues.

The Daily Herald and other news media have written stories about many of the referendums. We will publish endorsements on some of the more high-profile issues in the coming days.

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In all, there are some 30 questions on ballots in the suburbs, including 17 in DuPage County alone.

The list includes several tax increase proposals, such as the $26.98 million borrowing plan in Itasca Elementary District 10 to fund school construction projects, and another to borrow $4.7 million to replace building infrastructure and upgrade security at schools in Winfield Elementary District 34.

There are questions that will affect the size and makeup of some local governments. For example, Lake County voters will decide whether the elected recorder of deeds post -- the county's keeper of real estate transactions, military discharge papers and other documents -- will be eliminated and the office merged with the county clerk. In McHenry County, voters will determine whether to continue having an elected coroner or let the county board hire someone to oversee investigating and certifying causes and manners of death. A few townships, including Elk Grove, are asking permission to abolish their local road district.

While those issues may not have the 1,000-watt shine of the vote for president between Donald Trump or Joe Biden, they are too important to ignore -- especially those that hit your wallet.

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