Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
Politicians are gearing up for the 2024 elections. Illinois candidates will again pass and file nominating petitions. Offices on the March ballot include but are not limited to U.S. House of Representatives, State Senators, State Representatives, Metropolitan Water District Commissioners, Clerk of the Circuit Court, State’s Attorney, District One County Commissioner, and District Three Board of Review.
Incumbent MWRD Commissioners Kari Steele, Marcelino Garcia, and Daniel Pogorzelski received the party nod, as did appointed MWRD Commissioner Precious Brady-Davis. Surprising few insiders, MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos received the party’s endorsement over incumbent Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Martinez for that office. Given that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx isn’t running for re-election, Clayton Harris instead received the nod.
In 2024, the Cook County Farm Bureau® Political Action Committee (PAC) will interview and endorse local candidates. These endorsements will be shared in a future Co-Operator.
Looking at historical data, we can guess what voter turnout will look like in March. In 2020, primary turnout was 28.36 percent, or 2,279,439 voters pulling a ballot. While 2020 was a Presidential primary with a hotly contested State’s Attorney primary to boot it was also in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so turnout was startling low. Also vote-by-mail, which is now commonplace, was brand new. Ironically, 2020 wasn’t the lowest historic voter turnout; 2000 was. Does the pandemic account for the 18.20 percentage point decrease between 2020 and 2016? Maybe?
While 2022 was a midterm election, voter turnout increased compared to 2020. Illinois is home to 8.1 million registered voters. Of those, 4.1 million voters or 51 percent pulled a ballot. In 2018, 57 percent of voters pulled a ballot. With vote-by-mail firmly in place in Illinois, why wasn’t 2022 voter turnout higher than in 2018? Was it the result of partisan charged rhetoric? Lackluster candidates? Voter apathy? Perhaps that’s a question better left to political scientists.
In November, voters will turn their attention to electing a President and Vice President. U.S. voters will also fill the Senate and House of Representatives. Again, control of both is up in the air. Political pundits believe that the U.S. House and Senate could both flip. Ready for a Republican Senate and Democratic House? Ready for Congress to remain divided regardless of who is in the Oval Office?
Democrats need to pick up five seats to flip the House. There are 18 seats in play that are currently held by Republicans that President Biden won in 2020. On the opposite side of the rotunda Republicans are eyeing up the most favorable map in years. At-risk incumbents include those in Montana, Ohio, and West Virgina. Historically battleground states, including Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin, will also be in play.
Regardless of individual’s political leanings, the most important thing anyone can do is vote. Vote in March. Vote again in November. Repeat.