Voting Down-Ballot/Local Elections 101


Ken Jones

Two weeks from today, Illinoisians find out the results of taking part in the 2020 Elections. The races at the the top of your ballot for the federal elections are well known: US President, US Senator and House of Representatives. While those races are undoubtedly important, down-ballot and local elections matter too.  But according to studies, more than 30% of voters will fail to complete their entire ballot. Very often, down-ballot races receive far less coverage than the top of the ballot, and it can be challenging to feel both informed and engaged about those elections when you enter the voting booth. 


Alex Niemczewski, CEO of BallotReady, a Chicago-based non-partisan website for voters whose mission is to empower an engaged and informed electorate.

Carolyn DeWitt, President and Executive Director of Rock the Vote


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

Help shape our coverage on The 21st by joining our texting group and answering weekly questions. Here are some responses from this week's prompts:


Sarah in Urbana: “I think that down ballot races are equally as important as federal races! I wish there were more coverage of the judges’ records.”

Angela in Vincennes, IN: “I don’t believe that downstate people feel heard or feel like anything they think or have to say matters . That is the impression I get from having worked in the area for several years. Southeastern Illinois Lawrence County, Wabash County, Richland, Edwards, they pretty much feel like they’re on their own.”

Gene in Champaign said, in part: “I think it is a waste taxpayers money and time to continually “...elect” people who are managing departments required for effective administration of local and county governments. County board and city council elections are OK, yet do we really know very much about the candidate. They do get lost in the shuffle with statewide and national candidates. I think I’ve said it before, I’d like to vote for one person who represents what I believe and support.”

To join, text “TALK” to 217-803-0730 or sign up with your phone number below: