Change timing of local elections

Updated 4/11/2021 12:41 PM

The most recent municipal election has just passed and sadly once again turnout is in the low to middle teens. There has been much discussion over the years on how to improve voter turnout, but there has been little to show for this discussion.

I believe the root cause for this problem is the timing of municipal elections near national or statewide elections held in November of even-numbered years. It is not a secret that these election cycles have grown longer and more negative in tone leaving candidates and voters alike exhausted and thankful for the end of the cycle. The holiday season rapidly follows and politics continue to fade from consciousness. With the coming of the New Year, the municipal election cycle begins in earnest, but few are ready or interested in yet another election so soon. The vast number of local elections and short election cycle limits the coverage of these races and winter weather is a significant impediment to candidate interaction with voters. Hence burnout, apathy, limited coverage and limited voter interaction all but insure poor turnout.


A simple solution to this problem, would be move the municipal elections to November in odd-numbered years. This would give voters time to recover from General Election fatigue and provide time for candidates and voters to focus on local matters, provide adequate media coverage and benefit from good weather enabling greater candidate and voter interaction. Local elections impact taxes, zoning, development, schools, parks and township services affecting your daily life.

The date of municipal elections can be changed by a vote of the Illinois legislature. Please join me in writing our state representatives and senators asking to make this change.

Mark Urda


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