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Put super-sized state government on diet

The Illinois primary is history, and sadly, also historic — a record low voter turnout in the Chicago area of less than 20 percent — in part because nearly 80 percent of the non-judicial races were uncontested, and a lack of competition apparently produced a lack of interest.

So an obvious challenge for those of us who consider civic engagement a key component of a healthy democracy is to encourage more people to run for office, and more people to vote.

That means, among other things, reforming the electoral process, and we’re on it.

The push for a healthier democracy also includes our “smart streamlining” campaign, which calls for consolidating or eliminating some of the state’s 7,000 units of government — Illinois has 2,000, or 40 percent more than any other state — to save tax dollars and increase efficiency.

Thankfully, we have a lot of allies in our fight against this “obesity epidemic” — lawmakers, civic groups and a few government entities themselves that are downsizing their delivery of public services.