Joe Germuska and his Tribune Interactive colleagues built Election Center as a catch-all for election stories and info. The most interesting part is the Ballot Builder, which allows you to sketch out your vote and share it over Twitter or Facebook, if you dare. Not many have: I count 6 mentions on Twitter. (Kind of odd. In an era of ubiquitous sharing, I’d think sharing your vote would be a natural. Presumably, if you think highly enough of someone to vote for them, you’d like others to do so as well. Perhaps the cultural legacy of the secret ballot outweighs that.)
Even my most civically-engaged friends have not been following this election, I suspect that a good chunk of the people who’ll vote tomorrow are deciding in the last hours. To help out, here are my picks. I’ll walk through the races from the bottom-up, as those are the races people are following the least. (I skipped the judge races altogether, you’re better off checking the recommendations of the Chicago Bar Association, though maybe they can get someone from Tribune Interactive to help make their list more web-friendly.)
For Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner, I’ll be happily voting for Todd Connor. I’ve been impressed by Todd when I’ve seen him around town and what I’ve learned from his consistent Twitter presence. He’ll bring a smart, good government approach to an agency that has a legacy of nepotism and corruption. He also sports an impressive list of endorsers– though beware the pop-up audio on his site. I’ll also be voting for Mariyana Spyropoulos, the only other candidate I’ve looked into. She was appointed to the position by Gov. Quinn, and like Todd, has an impressive slate of endorsements, including both newspapers, and should be a voice for independence.
I’m voting for Tom Dart and David Orr out of appreciation for the jobs they’ve done. In the Assessor’s race, I’m voting for Ray Figueroa. Not because he was jumped last week, allegedly by thugs associated with his opponent, Berrios. In short, he gets my vote because both of his opponents are ethically-challenged hacks. (The Tribune editorial board explains its support for Figueroa.)
For County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle is far-and-away the best choice. Take a gander at the recent “candidates forum” on Chicago Tonight, Preckwinkle is an adult among adolescents.)
I’m in the Illinois 7th Senate district. After some research, including help via Twitter, I’ve decided to vote for Jim Madigan. I probably agree with the incumbent Heather Steans on most issues, but the manner in which she was appointed to her position, her history of strong support for Rod Blagojevich, and a (perhaps irrational) sense of anti-incumbent fervor has me supporting Madigan. (David Ormsby has a post critical of both candidates.)
I tend to skip races where there is no opposition– but I’ll pull levers for Jan Schakowsky and Lisa Madigan.
I’m voting for Justin Oberman, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and (tossing coing) Scott Lee Cohen for Treasurer, Comptroller and Lt. Governor, respectfully. I’m most enthusiastic about Raja, least enthusiastic about my Lt. Governor vote, a position I’d vote to abolish.
A month ago, Pat Quinn would have had my vote. As the vote has neared, I’ve seen him as a dithering, grandstanding, thin-skinned, race-card playing professional politician. Dan Hynes’ Harold Washington ad, below, is the most influential local political ad I’ve seen in awhile (since Harold’s own lakefront walk ad, perhaps.) But as influential, if not more so, has been Quinn’s over-the-top reaction to the ad and his enlistment of a group of aging pols pining for the race politics of the 1980s. I appreciate that Dan Hynes is thinking about tax reform, and think he’s a much better chance at winning in November. Should Quinn win the nomination, I’ll certainly take a long look at the GOP choice, as will many other normally consistent Dem voters.
Unlike the Governor’s race, I’d be happy to see any of the three as my Senator. Cheryle Jackson has received the least attention, as David Hoffman and Alexi Giannoulias have gone after each other, but she’s run well. Should she lose, but finish strong, I’d add her name 2011 daydream lists local political junkies keep drawing up. And Giannoulias– young, smart, and empathic– could be a great Senator. That said, in the political environment that is early 2010, I think Hoffman stands the best chance of winning in November, and I’m sticking to the call I made last fall.
But don’t take my word for it: Progress Illinois has put together its own guide to the Democratic ballot; WBEZ’s “Election File” has a lot of resources– including this fun look at election judge training by Sam Hudzik. Steve Rhodes has his own Election-eve summary.