The Case against Municipal Primaries
Here we are, enjoying a postelection breather before new members of Congress and the Illinois legislature are sworn in, and already another voting season is upon us.
Just 12 weeks from now, on Feb. 26, primary elections in some suburbs will whittle down the field of candidates for municipal office before the April 9 general election.
But in most cases, the primary election wont reduce the number of candidates by much.
In Wheatons North District, voters in the primary election will cut out just one contender, reducing the number of candidates from five to four who will appear on the April 9 ballot.
The same is true in Auroras 9th Ward, where the primary will reduce the field from five to four. In Auroras 4th Ward, seven candidates will be on the primary ballot, to be whittled down to four for the April 9 election.
And in Elgin, 23 people want to be on the city council. But the primary election will reduce that number by only four to six people, leaving as many as 19 candidates to compete for five seats on April 9.
It all adds up to a good argument for getting rid of the primary for municipal elections, saving the taxpayers from the expense and saving voters from confusion.
Dont misunderstand us: We consider municipal elections to be crucial in choosing leaders whose decisions and priorities touch our lives in the suburbs every day. However, the extra layer of a primary election adds little to that and costs roughly $3,000 per precinct, Cook County Clerk David Orrs office reports. …