Go vote! It ain't illegal yet

Illinoisans to elect governor, legislators and help determine makeup of Congress

 Attendees of the Democratic get-out-the-vote rally in Chicago Sunday make a demand on their fellow Illinoisans. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

Attendees of the Democratic get-out-the-vote rally in Chicago Sunday make a demand on their fellow Illinoisans. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

It’s Election Day. Vote.

Illinoisans go to the polls Tuesday to elect a governor and much of the General Assembly, and also to elect members of Congress who will determine how much leeway to give President Trump.

The so-called midterm or off-year election is usually secondary to presidential election years, but interest has been unusually intense this year, with everyone from Gov. Bruce Rauner to President Trump to his predecessor Barack Obama calling it perhaps the most important election in their lifetimes.

Illinoisans will determine the course of the state by choosing between Republican incumbent Gov. Rauner and his Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker. They’ll also determine whether Democrats have a supermajority in the state House and Senate, or whether they’ll opt for a more evenly balanced government between the two major parties.

Of the state’s 18 congressional races, four have drawn keen interest from Trump and from Democrats seeking to rein in his excesses: the 6th District between Rep. Peter Roskam and Sean Casten, the 12th between Rep. Mike Bost and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, the 13th between Rep. Rodney Davis and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, and the 14th between Rep. Randy Hultgren and Lauren Underwood.

Health care is said to be the top issue for voters nationwide. Illinois Republicans have tended to emphasize taxes, and that could be a key issue as Pritzker has made clear that he’ll push for a graduated state income tax if elected governor.

Judges are also on the ballot in Chicago and Cook County, as voters determine whether they should be retained. The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening has put together a comprehensive list of judges and their worthiness as determined by several bar associations to help voters with the comparatively obscure process. No judge has lost a retention election since 1990, however.

It’s also worth noting that the victorious party in the governor’s race will get to take the initiative in drawing new district boundaries across the state after the 2020 census.