Time to make a decision about our political future

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Andrea A. Raila is a Democratic primary candidate for Cook County Assessor. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Election Day is here.

I can finally go to the polls and cast a ballot for the candidates who convinced me there really is light at the end of this tunnel.

While most of the people I know have already voted, I always wait until Election Day.

Walking through the gauntlet of campaign workers is sort of a ritual with me.

You’ve got to respect these people who, regardless of the weather, stand outside of polling places trying to win over some undecided voters.

Sometimes it is as easy as pressing a palm card in a person’s hands, especially when it comes to judges.

But some years it can be pretty contentious.

Given the multimillions that J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy spent in the governor’s race, there ought to be lots of people at the polls tasked with snagging undecided voters.

I confess. I’m an undecided, which is why I don’t put too much stock in polling data.

It isn’t until I’m in the booth that I am able to see through the rhetoric and choose.

And I’m not alone.

On Monday, I got a call from a reader who was still trying to figure out whom to vote for in the 25th Legislative District.

“I’m looking for change and I want to make sure my vote counts,” he told me.

He also predicted it would be a “pink wave,” at the polls because of the #MeToo movement.

I’m not so sure about that.

Yes, there are several incredible female candidates in challenging races including Democrat Sharon Fairley; Republican Erika Harold, for Illinois Attorney General; and Republican State Rep. Jeanne Ives, 42nd District, for governor, and Andrea Raila for Assessor in the Democratic Primary.

But I am stunned by how much support Assessor Joseph Berrios still has among Democratic leadership.

Despite being accused of overseeing an office that overcharged poorer property owners while under-assessing wealthier ones, Berrios got the seal of approval from the Cook County Democratic Party.

The Democrats stood by while Raila’s nominating petitions were scrutinized with a fine-tooth comb.

She spent her entire campaign trying to overturn a county electoral board’s order that knocked her off the ballot.

It wasn’t until last Wednesday that the Illinois Appellate Court ruling reversed that lower court ruling removing her name from the ballot based on a pattern of fraud in nominating petitions.

If this is the year of female empowerment, it should not have been so difficult for this woman to run for the Assessor’s office.

Early votes for Raila will now be counted, but the back and forth robbed her of the opportunity to run a real campaign.

Worse yet, she’s likely facing a mountain of legal fees.

This election cycle, I share my caller’s anxiety.

My mind was just about made up about the 25th Legislative District race until I got a glossy flyer in the mail last week with an unflattering photograph of one of the candidates.

The flyer advised voters this particular candidate was once evicted from a condo, was caught driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, and took campaign money from someone who had tried to bring a gun onboard a plane.


Except, making these sorts of allegations so late in the game doesn’t give voters a chance to investigate.

That’s like a fighter hitting below the belt just after the bell rings.

Unfortunately, the only purpose of such last-minute attacks is to confuse rather than to educate.

After months of listening to stump speeches, most of us are confused enough.

We have a lot of problems in Illinois, and it takes a special sort of person to think he or she has solutions to those problems.

I salute all of the candidates for jumping into these races.

It is not a perfect system, but it is our system.

Hopefully, the best man or woman will actually win.

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