Primary elections are notorious for being low-turnout affairs, in part because of the perceived lack of contests.
Unfortunately, the perception is largely in line with reality in DeKalb County this year.
Among the two parties, there is only one contested countywide race: Democrats Denise Ii and Trent Taylor both are seeking their party’s nomination for County Clerk and Recorder.
Those who pull Democratic ballots today will not see a lot of other exciting contests. Gov. Pat Quinn faces a longshot challenge from Tio Hardimann. Dennis Anderson and John J. Hosta are a pair of longshot challengers to Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren in the 14th congressional district.
Democrats are fielding a candidate for Regional School Superintendent, Amanda Christensen, but there are no candidates on the ballot for state representative or state senate, or other countywide offices.
On the Republican ballot, there are no contested races for countywide office, but there is a race between two challengers, Samuel-Louis Bandy and Craig J. Genteman, in County Board District 9, a jagged area that includes much of central DeKalb, including downtown and areas to the north, south and east.
Other races on the Republican ballot that should prove interesting.
A two-term incumbent, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of the 16th District, is being challenged by David Hale Jr., a leader of the Rockford Tea Party, for the GOP nomination.
Two Republicans – state Sen. Jim Oberweis and challenger Doug Truax – are battling for their party’s nomination to challenge three-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in the fall.
And four Republicans – state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, businessman Bruce Rauner, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford – want the GOP nomination for governor so they can challenge Quinn. The lone statewide race without an incumbent is for state treasurer. The winner of the Tom Cross-Bob Grogan GOP bout will take on Democrat Michael Frerichs, who is unopposed in seeking the nomination.
Nonpartisan voters in some parts of DeKalb County can vote on referendum questions. Voters in Cortland, Kingston, Sycamore and Victor townships will see a question about electrical aggregation, where local governments buy electricity in bulk for customers in their area in order to secure a lower rate. This seems like a good way to save money to some, while others are reluctant to hand such power to local government. This is not the most enthralling set of ballots we have encountered in a primary election. It will not be a surprise if turnout is below 25 percent.
But those who stay home will have no voice in the names who appear on the ballot in November. They also send the message to politicians that in reality, not that many people really care.
Don’t let that be the case. If you haven’t already, exercise your right to vote today.