These last few months have been filled with leadership changes at all levels of government. Up next, the City of Chicago's Municipal Elections on Tuesday, February 24th will determine who represents Chicagoans at the local level. While voting has been the cornerstone of our democracy, sadly far too few people actually cast their votes. Historically, this has been the case especially for minority communities, and it's time we change this!
Our network and our responsibility do not end with providing for our families. Our blocks, our neighbors, and our community rely on each and every individual to contribute and make it a better place. Participating in elections and casting a ballot allows us to provide and give back to our communities by giving us a voice in the election process. Casting a ballot allows us to have a say at various levels of government because it allows us to choose who represents our goals and beliefs, and it provides an avenue for us to share our opinion on many proposed referenda. Referenda are used on ballots to get a sense of people's opinions on certain matters - most recently, we answered whether we would like to see a minimum wage increase at the state level from $8.25 to $10/hr.
Presidential Election Years always have the highest voter turnouts, but it's important to remember that many of the changes and improvements that come to our communities begin at the local level. We interact very closely with our local government and the services it provides on a daily basis; from increasing the minimum wage up to $13/hr. to establishing legal protections against illegal tows, the City of Chicago enacts legislation that closely affects our daily lives.
As a fellow citizen, I encourage you to get out and vote. It is our civic duty to exercise our right to vote, not just to make our voices heard, but to honor our military that has courageously fought throughout the years to ensure our country's freedoms. We also honor those who fought for our civil rights and women's suffrage. Our predecessors have fought for our right to vote, and we should honor them by exercising that right.
I understand voting on Election Day can be overwhelming; long lines can lead to excessive wait times, and I know not all of us have time to wait to cast our ballot. Remember that you also have the option to cast your ballot during the Early Voting Period, which will run from Monday, February 9 to Saturday, Feb 21. During this time, you can vote at any of the City's 50 Early Voting Locations. You also have the option to vote from home if you submit an Absentee Ballot in the mail. You can find more information about these options at the Board of Elections Website at www.chicagoelections.com.
Let's make sure our communities are heard: Get out and vote!