Illinois state elections are important too

By Isaiah Reynolds , Columnist

recent trip to the beloved capital of Illinois, Springfield, has opened my eyes to something other than the dysfunction of the Illinois government: my own naiveté of local government.

After some self-reflection, I realized I could not name my alderman, state representative or U.S. representative. It took me about three minutes to simply put in my zip code and address to find all of the above with multiple forms of contact information and district offices.

Staying up-to-date with the upcoming elections and knowledgeable about local politics is so important in establishing real change throughout the country. For residents of Chicago, it’s never too early to look into possible mayoral candidates for 2019.

Most of the political talk surrounds the upcoming U.S. Senate election in November, when 34 of 100 seats in the Senate and all 18 congressional seats in Illinois will be up for grabs in regular elections. Researching candidates and their positions as well as other current events related to voting/elections are the best things we can do in preparation for November.

With the revised congressional map of Pennsylvania, gerrymandering has become a popular topic. Gerrymandering is defined as the manipulation of “boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.” The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the 2011 congressional map was “an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.”

Other examples of gerrymandering are alive today, and regardless of political party, voter manipulation should be fought in any form.

News of Russian influence in the past presidential election is sure to have swayed some individuals from the process of democracy, but fighting for accountability on those involved in any form of corruption within the system is the best route to ensure advocates are in office.

Unfortunately, one of the few concrete things we as citizens can do to combat wayward laws and policies or corrupt politicians is to contact our representatives. However, if we don’t know who we need to contact, our representatives don’t know how to adequately represent us. With the upcoming elections, it is vital that politicians who will listen to constituents and who will enact effective policies are put into office.

Regardless of investment in politics, political literacy is one of the more important skills to have as college students merging into the professional world. Arguably, many politicians take advantage of the overall lack of knowledge within the general public.

Knowing the candidates, knowing the policies and knowing the process are our strongest tactics in improving the current political system.

Isaiah is a sophomore in Media.

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