Students register to vote as November 4 approaches

by Niko Radicanin | October 1, 2014 8:40 am

This November, there are going to be big decisions and big changes made in Illinois. November 4, all registered voters can elect candidates for various positions in Illinois government. On top of voting for congressional and local seats in Illinois, there is also the vote for governor and one US senate seat. A seat for Senate is open every two years, and the election for governor is every four.

For the senate seat in Illinois, Republican Jim Oberweis and incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin are running against each other. For governor, incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn is running against Republican Bruce Rauner. This year, the race for governor is an unusually close one.

Social Studies teacher John Fields, who also manages student voter registration, sees the importance of the upcoming election.

“The race is a dead heat. I can see it going either way. There is a couple reasons it’s so close. First off, most Illinoisans are dissatisfied with the current government. Patrick Quinn is the incumbent, he’s in office, so a lot of people are dissatisfied with the job he and the rest of Illinois politicians have done so far.” Fields said, “but the reason Bruce Rauner has not taken a huge lead is that Cook County is very Democratic, and secondly Rauner has been very vague in his proposals. He has been saying he is going to do these things, but he has not specified, so Illinoisans have been a little leery of him as well.”

The two candidates have opposing views, and regardless of who wins, both claim they will make changes.

“The immediate consequences of the election would probably be spending on education and what they do with pensions for public employees of Illinois,” Fields said.

Targeting young people specifically, they will feel the impact of the election as well.

“Students are most affected by the changes to education, whether or not minimum wage gets raised, legalization of medical marijuana, and affordable college tuition,” he said.

When it comes to RBHS, some seniors who are 18 have the opportunity to register to become Illinois voters.

“If you are 18, you have to register to vote because your vote is your voice. If you are dissatisfied or unhappy with the government, the least you can do is vote,” Fields said, “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain; you have to vote. Your vote is your voice.”

Fields also is a strong believer in adults, including himself, encouraging students to register.

“It’s our job to show 18 year olds why it’s important to vote. We need to show them that government matters, and even though they’re one person, they can make a difference,” Fields said.

There is an opportunity to register today, Wednesday, October 1, during all lunches. Fields is also always available in his room, (Room 215) to answer any questions and register students who are interested.

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