Chicago: Pencil in voting on your Tuesday to-do list

We certainly can’t force any of our fellow Chicagoans to fill out an electronic or paper ballot. But we can repeat ourselves and once again emphasize the importance of voting for our city’s future.

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Early voters cast their ballots in the Feb. 28 municipal election at the Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St., Monday afternoon, Feb. 27, 2023. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Early voters cast their ballots in the Feb. 28 municipal election at the Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St., Monday afternoon, Feb. 27, 2023.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

And, we’re off to the races. Election Day finally arrives on Tuesday in Chicago.

The odds are high that no candidate will beat the odds and win the election outright with a majority of the votes. But by Tuesday night, we may be privy to whether the incumbent, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, will still have a chance to run the city again, or if two of her eight challengers (three of whom — Brandon Johnson, Paul Vallas and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia — are running, according to polls, in a statistical dead heat along with the mayor) will bump her out of the anticipated runoff election on April 4.

While election results can be hard to predict, voting remains a constant. No citizen should take that right for granted. Chicagoans who have not yet opted to vote early in this crucial municipal election should pencil in a trip to the polling station Tuesday.

There are hundreds of other candidates on the ballot as well, in 50 ward races and for 22 new police district councils.

Editorial

Editorial

Whoever wins these races will become our city’s next leaders. None of us can afford to ignore our civic duty to choose wisely on the ballot.

As we have noted before, the Sun-Times, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, can no longer make endorsements in political races. And we certainly cannot force anyone to fill out a ballot, be it electronic or paper, in-person or by mail.

But we are allowed to repeat ourselves and emphasize the importance of voting for our city’s future.

Clearly, thousands of Chicagoans have already taken that sentiment to heart — especially older residents. Voters from 65 to 74 have had the highest turnout in early voting, followed by those 75 and older, with Chicagoans from 55 to 64 coming in third.

By Sunday, there were 211,110 ballots cast through early voting and vote-by-mail ballots, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

The momentum must keep swinging forward Tuesday, especially among young people who, over the long term, stand to be most affected by the decisions our elected officials make.

City residents between the ages of 18 to 24 have only accounted for a little over 2% of the ballots cast so far. Younger voters cannot afford to be apathetic: Young people are most often the victims of Chicago’s gun violence, for one; nearly every day, a young person is gunned down in our streets.

And young people, along with the rest of us, need a city with a robust economy, good jobs, good public schools, safe and clean public transit, cultural amenities and more.

All of which depends on making smart choices on the Feb. 28 ballot.

Generation Z’s opinion does matter. Sitting out an election is a choice. Some might call it a form of protest, but it’s a choice with consequences.

“You wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist,” as former President Barack Obama said a few years back, encouraging young voters to take action. “Why would you let them pick your representative, who’s going to determine your future?”

Resources, including our Sun-Times/WBEZ voter guide at elections.suntimes.com, are readily available for voters who are still on the fence about who they want to back.

If you’re not registered to vote, you can do so on Tuesday with two forms of ID and then vote immediately after.

If you have additional questions or encounter problems on Election Day, Common Cause Illinois has several hotline numbers in place at 866ourvote.org.

You can also find out more from the Chicago Board of Elections at chicagoelections.gov

No one expects Chicago to turn over a new leaf overnight. But we can make a difference — because how we vote sends a powerful message to those looking to chart the city’s course.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com

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