Editorial: Don’t lose chance to frame debate; vote Tuesday

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Illinois Quad-Cities area voters won’t see a host of races when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

But they will see primary ballots for both parties crowded with qualified candidates vying to compete this fall for powerful positions, including Illinois governor and attorney general, Whiteside and Rock Island County sheriff, and Geneseo alderman.

In the race for governor alone, six Democrats are vying to represent their party in November. Republicans will choose between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Rep. Jeanne Ives.

The decision by Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to retire resulted in eight Democrats and two Republican vying to compete for their party’s nomination.

Capturing much of the attention locally are the Democratic primary for RICo sheriff between incumbent Gerry Bustos and former sheriff, Jeff Boyd, and a four-way GOP primary for Whiteside County sheriff. Henry County voters also are again being asked to create a half-cent public safety sales tax.

Unfortunately, far too few of us will seize this opportunity to choose this Tuesday.

Primary elections traditionally have the lowest voter turnout, especially in non-presidential election years like this one. One reason often cited for that is Illinois’ closed primary. Many voters do not wish to declare a party. If you just can’t, you still can ask for a nonpartisan ballot to vote on referendum questions such as Henry County’s public safety sales tax. But if you want to vote in most races, you must either ask for a Democrat or Republican ballot or lose the opportunity to help frame the November debate.

To help you make your choices, our reporters have been covering the races. We’ve also collected election questionnaires for all the contested primary races. If you’d like to review our coverage or read what they have to say in their own words in response to those survey questions, go to QCOnline.com/elections. We’ve also been sharing your views via letters to the editor. They are running in Viewpoints through today. Please take a moment to see what your neighbors think.

Once again, our editorial board weighed in on some key issues and races. As always, we did not do so to tell you how to vote, but to share with you what we’ve learned from talking to candidates, activists and citizens about the issues before us.

Here’s what we recommended:

— Republican for governor: Bruce Rauner;

— Democrat for governor: Chris Kennedy;

— Republican for attorney general: Erika Harold;

— Democrat for attorney general: Sharon Fairley;

— Democrat for RICo sheriff, Gerry Bustos;

— Half-cent public safety sales tax in Henry County, yes.

What we said, of course, remains far less important than what you have to say. Please don’t risk leaving your choices to someone else. Remember, you also vote when you choose to stay home; you just let someone else make your choices for you.

The last word is and should be yours, but only if you vote.

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