By Kim Savage

Can you believe the Illinois Primary Election is just around the corner? Early voting has already started in Wheaton and Vote by Mail ballots are available! In person early voting will start at many sites around DuPage County on March 2. If you are not registered to vote, don’t despair, you still have options! Check for voting and registration information elsewhere in this newsletter.

There is one thing that all Democrats and many Republicans agree on; we must change the occupant of the White House. We must also keep the majority in the House and build a majority in the Senate. The path to victory depends on a large and united General Election voter turnout. Key areas that impact voter turnout include voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization.

The Primary Election is a vital part of our election process. This is the opportunity for each of us to weigh in on our preferences for candidates to run in the General Election. Sometimes it can be hard to choose and frustrated voters stay home on Election Day. Sometimes voters think they can upset the apple cart by voting in the opposing party’s primary, picking the lesser of two evils (note, we still got Bruce Rauner in 2014, so that strategy does not generally end well). Sometimes voters don’t know enough about the candidates and fear they will make a mistake by voting for the wrong person.

Voter mobilization starts with the Primary Election. People who vote in Primary Elections are more likely to vote in General Elections and we need a large turnout for the 2020 General Election to ensure that we elect a Democratic President. Volunteers have been writing postcards to registered voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and even here in DuPage County to encourage them to vote in their upcoming Primary Elections. There is still time to help in this effort–check the calendar of events in this newsletter to find out when you can help out.

Personal face to face contact with voters is another factor in voter mobilization. Candidates and volunteers actively knock on doors to talk to people about their shared values and goals. It can be daunting to talk to strangers about politics, but a personal connection between a candidate and a voter on a doorstep is the most effective way to earn a vote. The next best way is for a volunteer representing a candidate to make the outreach at the voter’s home.

Research has also shown that when people visualize their plans to vote, they are more likely to cast their ballots. So, please make a voting plan and make sure everyone in your home has a voting plan. Are you planning to vote early or on election day? If you vote early, will you vote by mail or in person? When will you schedule time to do it? If voting on election day, will you vote in the morning, during the day, or after work? Will you drive, walk or take public transportation? Will you go alone or take someone with you? Please consider these scenarios, but also encourage everyone you know to do the same.

During the 2018 election cycle, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton often shared an African proverb that said, “When you want to go fast, go alone. When you want to go far, go together.” We have a long journey ahead of us. Let’s travel this road together! Vote!